Tonight I will watch for fireflies by the garden gate. The field grass and wild apple branches will be thick with rising mist as daylight fades. I will stand with my children and together we will trace those meandering lights in their hundreds out in the meadow.
In the procession of the season, fireflies and mountain laurel blossoms are among June's finest offerings. They follow the ephemeral glory of the woodland wildflowers and anticipate the wild berries of early summer. The laurel will blush and bloom for a couple stunning weeks in June, and the fireflies will linger on until the mower lays the tall grass down.
My children count the days until Summer vacation - almost to the hour - but I mark the passage of time by the growth and change that is going on all around us. I see the Orioles weaving their nests in the oak tree, and snapping turtles hauling their ponderous forms out of the swamps to lay their eggs. I see the starter plants in my vegetable garden rapidly filling in what always feels at the outset like ample space between them.
This will be the year when Elias learns to be a stronger swimmer, and dares remove the training wheels from his bicycle. This will be the summer when Emily brings a friend (and a boyfriend, no less), to Windrock for the weekend. The day is coming soon when I will shave my beard and mustache and put on wool and linen to participate in the annual reenactment of the Revolutionary War battle of Monmouth Court House.
I want to run my hands over the tops of the grass, already wet with dew. I want to watch my wide-eyed children gently cup a firefly, and wander in the mountains when the laurel is in bloom. I do not want to miss any of this. You have to seek these timed moments of grace and wonder. The great wheel is always turning while it carries us forward.