I wonder if it has ever happened with you, dear reader, when you’re in your bed at night ready to fall asleep, and in the short while when your eyelids are just drooping shut, you see a beautiful flash of light so bright that you sit up with a jump, startled and wondering what you saw. It did happen with me once, the exact same thing; and it wasn’t an ordinary flash of light, too. I had seen the flash of a firefly, right in the middle of my bedroom, tiny, dazzling and evanescent. The moment I realized what it was, I frantically started turning my head in all directions to locate it; not so much as to see it again, but out of concern that a beautiful creature might die if it stayed indoors too long. I remember thinking about my parents telling me how they used to see scores of fireflies buzzing around at night when they were young; I had wondered how thrilling a hundred of them would be, all flashing together, when just one had made me jump out of a perfectly comfortable bed. My line of thoughts was broken as I saw the flash again, this time on the floor. I jumped to the light switch and turned the lights on. It was fluttering on the floor. I ran out of the room and called out for everyone, my mother, my father and my sister. They all came running, and the moment my father laid his eyes on the insect he recognized it. He bent down, picked it up like a delicate flower that it was, and carefully stepped out into the balcony adjoining my room. We all followed. As my father stood there with the firefly on his palm and his arm outstretched, it flashed again. We all gasped! It flew now, flashing every few seconds, all about the garden, like some star had fallen down and was bouncing all over the place. A flash here, and one over there, we could all trace its path of light! The dark night suddenly appeared so bright, so beautiful, and we looked on, rapt; all the while I couldn’t help but wonder where all the fireflies had gone.
A Star In My Garden