I can’t fall asleep. I’m tossing, turning, not even a wink.
Little did I know, the dust bunnies are sharing a story of creation, just below my bed.
Have no fear, there’s no monsters here!
And just outside my window screen, a lightning bug has landed, blinking with a beckoning, “take leave of your bed, OUR parents of creation are shining overhead.”
I rose from my bed without a clatter and tiptoed to the window, my older brother fast asleep. Just as I arrived, the lightning bug took flight; his reply to I’ve complied.
I could see the stars from my window, but I longed to be lying on top of the grassy hill, just a stones throw away.
Only an hour ago, I was lying in the coolness of clover and grass, under my back and between my toes. And gazing up at the heavens with an elevated view-ONLY to be interrupted by the call of my dad. It was time to get home or I’d get a spankin’.
It would be risky to sneak out of the house, and after all, I had just spent the whole day outdoors:
Making merry in the meadow(nestled near the top of the hill)
The vacant lot just two houses away was no longer vacant. Tall prairie grasses wave over scrub and bushy clovers – wild flowers in masses of pinks, yellows and whites, called to the butterflies and me in flight
I’m chasing Swallowtails with giant tails, Tiger Tails-even Zebra Tails- some kind of insect Safari! And peeping at Painted Ladies, dancing atop the flowers, in broad daylight!
I’m already giddy when a Monarch seems to drop from the sky-then slows to a hover on a bright orange flower just inches away.
His touchdown complete, I slowly drop to my knees. I’m praying he won’t fly away even if only a short while.
I’m not sure I was even breathing when I watched his wings of gold open and close, open and close, with every heartbeat that was mine.
My first lesson of stillness in the field.
It could have been minutes or maybe just moments had passed-before the Monarch departed. But I do know with certainty, that it was all too soon.
I’m still on my knees, as a certain smile of gratitude is spreading over my face.
Still more, my gratitude is soon rewarded with another interlude in this sacred little space…
Incoming flight of the buh buh Bumble Bee. Buzzin’, bumpin’, bouncin’ off blossoms,sometimes walking all over pink flower orbs.
I mean crawling, rounding the circumference, upside down-better than any clown walking on a ball. Oh what a feat!
The flowers and greenery bend and sway, as this heavy little fellow of black and yellow, bumbles across the way.
Phew, I’m working up a sweat. Time to hike down the hill to the
(You might say I was baptized AGAIN at the age of three, splashing in the waters of this muddy suburban creek. It meandered through a little green valley, the last vestige of wilderness in a sprawling fifties motif. Just a muddy little creek, but these murky waters were alive with mysteries, and sometimes lessons that would clarify – for all of my days.)
The walls of the creek are fairly steep, so I sit and slide down to the shore. I plunge into the water, it’s only waist deep. But that’s just right for a boy past four.
After a dip, I like sitting on the edge of the shallows, sinking my lily white toes in the coolness of putty like mud. Pretty soon I hear a splash, it’s a pollywog wriggling near the bank. My excitement grows as I recall the last time I was here. A kid named Sky and I were in this same spot when one of these swam our way. I squealed with delight as I blurted out “what’s dat?”
tadpole a.k.a. pollywog or porwigle(in British English)
“Don’t you know Billy Beau, it’s a tadpole, but lots of folks call em’ pollywogs.”
He paused for a moment, and in a still more serious tone, he added,
“When he grows up, he turns into a frog. I caught one in a jar, took him home and watched him turn.”
I couldn’t believe it, how could that be? But his facial expression was as serious as his tone, besides, this was coming from a guy named Sky. How could I not believe? This was something special.
I lunge for the tadpole as I try to scoop him out of the water. But he swims too fast and this mystery will have to wait for at least another day. Next time I’ll bring a jar.
Out of the blue, a Cloudless Sulphur yellow butterfly lands on the bank nearby. He flits his wings once or twice, then flies up and out of the creek. I turn and quickly climb up the bank and over, I want a better look at this incredible yellow. I chase him up the hill to the meadow. The Cloudless Sulphur yellow is out of sight, but some kind of bug with wings is softly landing on my hand. I hold it up to scrutinize, and soon realize it’s a lightning bug.
I keep watching it and wondering, will he light up in the light of day? Moments turn to minutes and he still hasn’t blinked.
He must know there’s no need to glow in the light, save it for the night.
“Bill-eeeeeeeeeeeee, it’s way past supper time! Come home right this minute!”
My mother’s voice had a particularly piercing quality that easily penetrated the little magic meadow.
I gently pushed the lightning bug off the palm of my hand-into liftoff. I told him I’d be back a little later for the show.
After supper, I lit through the back door before my dad could even utter, “be back before dark!”
It’s not quite dusk but lightning bugs are everywhere. I can’t wait till it’s dark!
I walk down the hill to the creek, the blinkin bugs are swarming like flies all along the way.
When I reach the bottom, I gaze back at the hilltop like I’d never seen it before. On the right, a patch of the greenest grass that bordered a neighbor’s house, in the center, the little meadow, then the woods, which are now a mass of flickering lights.
I run up the hill and veer off into the little forest. I find my favorite tree and lay down against its trunk.
There’s a frenzy of blinking lights, everywhere I turn. But when I look straight up into the canopy, there’s a storybook scene…
The lightning bugs are stringing lights through every bough, every branch of the tree…from the largest limbs below, to the towering top aglow
An owl starts to hoot, the squirrels are rustling leaves,
I wonder what the critters think of this leafy Christmas tree.
I could watch this spectacular for hours, but it’s well past dark, time to head for home.
As I step out of the woods, into the abruptness of a clearing, the sky opens wide with an amazing array of stars, WOWSERS! I can’t go home just yet.
I bypass the meadow, I make a bee line to the grassy top of the hill.
I roll to the ground, into the coolness of post-evening grass, to recline beneath the heavens for one last show.
Lightning bugs are streaking against a sky full of stars.
Which ones are shooting, at times I don’t know?
My eyes wide open, my mouth agape, I am spellbound by this magical interface.
Later I would describe it as a special sort of liturgy, where heaven meets earth…
The abruptness of my dad’s voice quickly breaks the night, breaks the spell, “Billy get home on the double!”
(oh yeah, back at my room, 10:00PM …)
Still standing at the window, I’ve already decided I better stay put. I raise the screen for one more look at the stars.
Then with reluctance, I finally turn from the window and dive onto my bed.
Not the slightest bit sleepy, I clasp my hands behind my head, and whisper aloud the wonders of this day. I didn’t know it then, but I was reciting a prayer.
I’m now feeling drowsy, but I resist. My older brother once told me, you fought sleep like it was death. You seemed to be afraid that you might miss out on something while you slept.
But eventually, I have to give into the irresistible need for sleep, and I go deep.
Not even a minute has lapsed when a breeze gently flutters a calendar on my wall.
A soft announcement but with an exclamation point of light!