Oh, how I remember so many summer evenings like this on the farm when I was a child. And I remember them with reverence.
by Julie Cadwallader-Staub
The air vibrated
with the sound of cicadas
on those hot Missouri nights after sundown
when the grown-ups gathered on the wide back lawn,
sank into their slung-back canvas chairs
tall glasses of iced tea beading in the heat
And we sisters chased fireflies
reaching for them in the dark
admiring their compact black bodies
their orange stripes and seeking antennas
as they crawled to our fingertips
and clicked open into the night air.
In all the days and years that have followed,
I don't know that I've ever experienced
that same utter certainty of the goodness of life
that was as palpable
as the sound of the cicadas on those nights:
my sisters running around with me in the dark,
the murmur of the grown-ups' voices,
the way reverence mixes with amazement
to see such a small body
emit so much light.
Yes, on summer nights when I hear the sound of the cicadas, I still remember that "utter certainty of the goodness of life." And even though I never see fireflies now where I live, I recall the feel of their small bodies and the magic of the light they emitted on those hot summer nights long ago.