It was the same every summer.
From our first to our last.
It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.
It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.
I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.
Before they went this way.
We sat on the back porch of our home.
It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.
Then she saw one.
And then another.
Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.
There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.
I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.
And then she caught one.
I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.
And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.
As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”
She took a drink, and I looked at her.
This was the part of her I fell in love with.
Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.
I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.
Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.