I’ve been thinking lately about miracles. Not huge, epic Our-Lady-of-Lourdes sorts of miracles, but the everyday sort. The kind that transform life from mundane and habitual to something magical. Moments that make us sit up and pay attention.
We had a moment like that this summer. I was sitting on the couch with the dog, late at night, in my pajamas, and he jumped up and insisted on being taken outside. Since I was in my usual tank-top and boxers combo, I asked my more decently clothed husband to take him out. They were gone for a few minutes when J came dashing back in the front door and said “Come here. You have to see this!” I didn’t even stop to get dressed – I wrapped a blanket around myself in the middle of summer and ran out the front door after J and Arlo. They were headed for the trail beside our condo complex. It was pitch black outside as I ran, hot and so humid, the sort of summer night where you feel damp even as you step out of your door. There were the usual clouds of mosquitoes hovering over the grass, biting every inch of skin my blanket didn’t cover. But as soon as I reached the trail, I stopped noticing anything but the trees.
The entire forest was covered with lightning bugs.
I mean a forest of fireflies so thick that as they lit up, I could see every branch, every leaf defined by the phosphorescent glow. Billions and billions of glowing green lights blinked off and on, on and off, like Christmas lights in July, but better. I stood with J and Arlo and was captivated. I don’t know how long I stood and watched them. I only know that those woods will always hold the memory of that miraculous night, when I saw something I had never imagined (something I suspect only Christian Riese Lassen or Lisa Frank could have imagined – this night was like one of my fourth grade school supplies and book fair posters come to life, but so much more elegant). Equally miraculous is spending life with someone who rushes to show me these things, shares the appreciation and the miracle.
In a world divided by politics and violence and vitriol, I often feel glum and overwhelmed. Yet this is a month devoted to giving thanks. So today I give thanks for the everyday miracles, the moments of transcendence when I know what really matters: love and gratitude and a sense of wonder. I am profoundly grateful for the firefly trees.