The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Jewels in a jar

Rachael Conlin Levy
Today The Slow-Cooked Sentence ends its four-week series highlighting moments of my family’s summer vacation on the East Coast.

“Firefly” courtesy of art farmer.

It was a hot, sticky night in Delaware, and my 8-year-old son Max and I sat on the grass staring into the shadows for a sparkle in the bushes, a flicker of chartreuse in the grass. My eyes ached from staring at nothing. Then right in front of our faces a ghostly green glow burned. Faded. We saw the smokey shadow of tiny wings and body. Erased.

We were watching fireflies. For the first time.

Max tiptoed through the grass, hands cupped, poised.

“I caught one!” he cried and ran to me, opened his hands a crack, then wider.

“Ooh,” and his face fell.

Bug guts smeared his palms, glowed, glistened, a miniature shooting star smashed in mid-flight. He wiped his hands in the lawn. Now the blades of grass glowed, too.

He ran to the house for a jar. First he tried catching the fireflies directly with the jar. Metal lid clinked against glass. No luck. He returned to using his hands. Gingerly.

He caught one and transferred it to the jar. He caught another. Together in the jar, the fireflies glowed like green embers. Their flashes pushed him further into the night, into the shadows, searching for more. Far away, the sky was heavy with rain clouds and silent streaks of lightening.

Max caught a few more before the mosquitoes drove us inside. When I went to kiss him goodnight, I found him under his blanket reading by firefly light.

Check out Firefly, a nonprofit site dedicated to raising awareness about the decline of firefly populations, for amazing and magical pictures and information about this jewel of a bug.

One response to “Jewels in a jar”

  1. A really beautiful story about Sam and his fireflies.

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