Growing up, one of my favorite things about summer was the fireflies. At camp, if you took the forest trail after dusk, the trees would practically glow with them. You could walk along without even the aid of a flashlight because the fireflies would light the way. For a nine year-old, it was about the closest thing to magic there was -- their brilliant bodies bobbing along in front of me, reassuring me and guiding me through the darkness. My friends and I tried once to catch some in an old Mason jar, but it wasn't the same. The light seemed dim and sad once it was captured. I understand now that the truth of their light lay in their numbers, their light reflecting off the light of the others.
I hardly ever see fireflies here in the city. I don't know if they're dying out or if the light pollution keeps them from my view. Or maybe I've just lost that sense of nine year-old magic. Whatever it is, I miss this comfort from my childhood.
Last night, I dreamed of fireflies. I was wandering through a forest. Every way I turned, things looked the same -- confusing and overwhelming. Then, as I was ready to sit down and let the darkness swallow me whole, a tiny light appeared before me. And another. And another. And another. Until all around me was a chorus of fluttery lights, each reflecting off the other and illuminating me. Illuminating the path. Maybe not lighting the way out of the darkness, but lighting the way nevertheless to remind me that I am not alone.
Thank you, sweet fireflies. You know who you are.