A few nights ago we drove into the valley — the mist just rising from the stream and ponds, the sky empty of light but for stars. At its widest, the valley is two hundred yards; one thin road winds through it. We were looking for fireflies.
At the first crest of the road we saw them in unmown fields by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, everywhere in the high grasses, above the field far up the ridgeline, circling and shivering up and through the branches of 70 foot hickory trees. We turned the headlights off and stopped; their intensity increased, now madly blinking in clouds upon clouds of miniature phosphorescence.
We drove past dark barns and houses, turned to come back and found a second field alight and moving, and then, at the south ridge, scrimmed by shards of high clouds, an impossibly large moon, an apricot color, began to appear. All our windows down, we slowed and listened to tree frogs and all the whirring quiet and slowly found our way home.
In an interview not long before he died, Maurice Sendak said, “There’s something I’m finding out as I’m aging — that I am in love with the world” — yes, in spite of everything else snarling and snapping around us, yes, always I hope, yes.