I've been thinking about light lately. I remember, back home, there was a particular crossroad that had a certain quality of light from time to time that took my breath away. Maybe it was an especially clean air day combined with a recently irrigated field. I really don't know. All I am sure of is that when I saw it, it was special. and for many years that crossroad was one of my happy places. I had learned to watch for it. Light makes us feel safe. We know exactly where we are. We don't necessarily have a sense of direction that tells us where to go (yes, I'm raising my hand) but we can see what is around us including the slow movement of the sun as it points the way.
Darkness is a different matter. When a bird recently flew into the pool area at the local recreation center, I couldn't imagine how Nikki, the lifeguard, would show it the way out. But the next work morning, Nikki located the bird. Yes, it was still alive, having survived the weekend enclosed with no access to food. She turned out all the interior lights and opened the side door to the dawning light. That scrap of light was all it took to orient the little guy and out he flew. I bet he was very hungry.
The night is a different matter. I'm not afraid of darkness though I must admit that lightning makes me very uneasy. Thunder and lightning was not a storm staple back home. Oh, we had intermittent rumbles and flashes but nothing like here where the night can turn into an eerie sort of daylight that keeps coming at you in waves until the storm passes.
When I was a child, we drove cross country several times and my earliest memory is associated with desert night skies and blinking stars. There is absolutely nothing so breathtaking for me as a desert sky on a moonless night. The stars inhabit the sky like fireflies that never go out. We didn't have fireflies where we moved from and I find this curious.
The Central Valley is agricultural as it is here. Lots of fireflies here but none there. I can't chalk it up to dry and intense heat because my friend Sue, in Texas, has lots of fireflies. I really have no idea. It's one of life's little mysteries. But now, the June nights have become special to me like that particular crossroad back home and whenever I see a firefly, I have to smile. They are like a nighttime wink reminding me that life is always an exciting adventure and I sure won't argue with that.
I've had my share of adventures since landing here, some dramatic like climbing into a cotton picker and some quiet and close to the earth like the first time I discovered we had little brown frogs in our yard. That was actually pretty cool for me and I would have loved sharing that moment with my grandsons. They would have been wowed right along with their Gran'ma.
Taken outside of Wellington Station in Turlock, CA
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