Parting Glances: Twinkling of the inner eye ...

By Charles Alexander
Originally printed 7/17/2014 (Issue 2229 - Between The Lines News)

I'm sitting on my front porch during the twilight 9 o'clock hour. These early July evenings are both warm and occasionally, as now, delightfully cool. The temperature is 70-something or other. Caressingly mild. Motor City quiet and contentment. For a change.

Street traffic's light. No loud music from rushing car windows menacingly rolled down for all to hear the bombast of boom and bass. Like it or not. My mood's nostalgic. Slightly hypnotic with a sense of briefly eternal timelessness. Flashes of my seven-decades life recalled.

Above tiny swallows are busy sweeping insects from the humid pressure zones of rising air. Their acrobatic flight's swift, exuberant, choreographed with lightening, relentless, daredevil speed.

They circle; turn up-and-over; over-and-out again, and again. A summer ballet of sudden - watch us! would-you-believe-it! - flights of fancy.

Below me in the tangle of nameless garden variety vines that web and menace my rusty iron fencing, fireflies dance their millisecond sparkle steps and fade so, so quickly. Catch us if you can. What fun! What frolic! they innocently flash.

And to what purpose these unheeded, sentinel lights? Who really gives a damn? Who gave me ticket and front row seat to this rare, evanescent spectacle?

I'm sure in times long gone by such insect creatures were mistaken for fairy tale minions. They sparkled in imitation of stars above. How else could they magically light? How else could they signal wonderland realms hidden from all but children's eyes?

Fireflies! Little, humble, touches of fragile flame. This evening curiously timed to the fireworks sounding and upstaging in nearby streets of unending Fourth of July weekend celebrations. Nature's pre-ordained miniatures of art and artifice. So, what, big guys?

Suddenly I'm lost in my thoughts of times it seems now so long gone by. Of family. Of friends. Of places visited. Images of my youth six decades ago. Of laughter. Tears. Shared moments of intimacy. Games played. Gifts given. Partings unexpected and sadly lived through. Youths robbed of manhood hopes, expectations. Uncounted losses.

Perhaps, drawn by my own mercurial reflections of a lifetime now out of tangible reach - its highlights and intimate details now only mental reruns - a few of these little curious lights are suddenly now floating and blinking at arm's length away from me.

Three or four in twinkling number, they settle on building vines nearby. They flash and briefly code the now darkening shadows of this day's end. I'm sure if I chose - so close they are - I could spoil their rendezvous with a gentle shake of vine, loud clap of hand, or, a weary, "Hey, guys! Why me?"

Instead, I'm grateful for the unexpected show of little lights that for one aged dreamer's sunset night alone, fill his mood with wonder, amusement, gratitude for a life, though at times sad, troubled, concerned, has given hope and sparkling dreams enough to keep on going. (And, kind thanks to my unseen exhibition patron and benefactor.)
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