Most years, when we have no big 4th of July plans, we watch the fireworks in a small town on the other side of the county. Their Lion's Club puts on a nice show, and it's a low-stress, enjoyable time. As one would expect, traffic streams out of town afterwards, concentrated on the two main routes. I scoot across the intersection instead of turning with the rest of the cars, and take the county roads home. When I come to a certain intersection every year, I look to the southeast corner. I don't know what made me notice, but one year on this trek I saw the entire ditch there, well sheltered by brush, was alight with lightning bugs. Over the years, it's become my habit to check out that intersection on late summer nights, usually on Independence Day holidays. They've never disappointed. I don't know if it's a phenomenon of temperature, climate, or just happenstance, but every time, lightning bugs blink a friendly greeting from that particular intersection.
Tonight, I visited a winery on that same side of the county. A dear friend took ill last Monday. Upon inspection, it became apparent she had actually been ill for quite some time. She made the decision to take hospice by Friday, and left us on Sunday. Her husband opted to hold her memorial at a place she loved, drinking wine and sharing music and stories on a beautiful summer night. As I drove home, I made my way back to my comfortable county road, and came upon "my" intersection. It was positively blazing, the lightning bugs blinking fast and staccato. I lingered at the stop sign, no country traffic to prod me forward, and enjoyed the show for a moment, thinking what a kick my friend would get out of the story. She must have agreed. As I let out the clutch and made my way through the gears, Owl City's "Fireflies" began to play on the radio.
Godspeed, Sharon. You were a bright soul in our midst and your absence is deeply felt.