It was the summer of 2017, and I was experiencing my first-ever summer not spent in my hometown. No matter where I moved over the years, I had always managed to get back to Idaho in the summer to catch up with family and friends. Not only was a new summer now beginning, but a new season of life as well.
I had gotten married and moved across the country to my husband’s hometown in Connecticut, and we were now living on the family farm in the very home his deeply loved grandparents had lived in. They had passed on years before I got the chance to meet them, but sharing the space they had occupied built a sense of connection - a sense of family that I was now adopting as part of my own story, as happens when two lives join their family lines together.
Neil and I got married in September 2016, and then the seasons slipped one-by-one from fall, winter, spring, and now to summer. I was in a new town, a new family, and a new community. While I loved my new world, I struggled with homesickness and with all the things that come with being "new in town."
I was alone in the house while Neil was in the barn milking the cows. It was just turning to dusk, and I found myself gazing out the large kitchen window Neil’s grandparents must have gazed through hundreds, if not thousands of times - taking in the view. It was a breathtaking view of dark, lush green foliage from the trees and bright pink, white, and purple blooms from the garden.
It was summer. It was magnetic. I could just feel that something was out there, even if I couldn't see it. I've often gazed out this window at the surrounding view. Sometimes whatever's out there will show itself - whether it's a fox slinking past the garden like a spy on a mission, or whether it's our sweet little philosophical chipmunk friend sitting in the grass on his haunches while contemplating life in stillness.
This particular evening, what decided to show itself was a brief pinpoint of light hovering in the yard. The longer I looked, the more I saw: tiny pinpricks of floating, flashing lights dancing in the dark for a moment and then hiding away and reappearing somewhere else.
All of a sudden, my heart time-traveled to my childhood - to Tennessee - visiting the home of my now-gone grandparents who lived there. It traveled to their huge yard with no fence...grass and fireflies floating on as they mingled with the neighbors’ yards. It was one giant grassy playground for children prancing around at dusk, catching fireflies in jars and in their hands. That was me and my sister. In Idaho, fireflies are something you read about in books or see in movies, but you don’t experience them. When we visited our grandparents in Tennessee in the summertime, a whole new magic was added to our lives.
And that magic had followed me to this very moment - back to my new season of summer, all the way over the years and to Connecticut. And it showed me there was indeed something familiar in this new place. I was home.
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Looking to create a little summertime firefly magic of your own? Check out these awesome resources and create some fun!
My Bug Jar Craft Kit
Fireflies by Mary R. Dunn
Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
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