An Early Fall Evening Walk

I heard reports of snow as far south as Denver. Fall is creeping down from the Great White North, but here in Texas Summer still weakly grasps for the Earth, holding ground against the inevitable season. Some mornings it gently rains, some afternoons the temperature climbs to 90°. Today we experienced both.

The sun seems closer in the Southwest. It lazily crossed the clearing sky, determined to dry the lawns and buildings and sidewalks and streets, sending so much moisture airborne. A breeze would make it pleasant, but all day the air was still. The late evening atmosphere sticks in your hair and precipitates on your cheeks, closing around like a womb.

Through the morning’s vaporized rains, with the sun just below the horizon, Adrienne and I set out for a walk. Dusk was quickly deepening into night, bringing yet perceptible relief from the surroundings. We strolled the neighborhood softly rapt with one another and conversation.

Our course led us by a low area where the rainwater runs out of a small wood into a gutter under the sidewalk. The year-round water makes habitat for papyrus sedge and passion flowers and amphibians that splash in the pool when you approach too noisily. As we passed Adirenne stopped.

“Sweetie, look!”

I broke my search for frogs and brought my gaze up to see. At first there was nothing but low shrubs against a background of trees. Standing still as the air around us I waited. Then I caught a wink of low yellow light in the middle distance. “Fireflies.”, she whispered.

Against the dark background of the forest the insects were impossible to see until they revealed their presence with a brief luminescent glow. Within moments dozens of rising lanterns winked in the night. Silently they droned in the moist air, oblivious to the two spectators their mating signals also attracted. I watched quietly waiting for one to silhoutte against the sky close enough to catch.

Spying one, I carefully reached for it drawing my closed fist between us. She bent close to look, but my open palm revealed nothing. For the first time in long minutes, I looked at her.

She stood perfectly still except for eyes that darted over the glen, sparkling with each firefly. A big gap-toothed smile brightened the whole of her face. In that instant the natural beauty around me seemed a reflection of the look on Adrienne’s face. The moment lengthened and I would have liked to stay in it forever.

We lingered at our private fireworks show a while longer not wanting to leave. It seems the longer you stand still, the closer responsibilities of the day press against your mind. Nudged forward, we clasped hands once again and resumed our walk. Looking back towards the creek, Adie proclaimed “Best night ever!”

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