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Summer Lightning

The animals have been tended, my wife and son have left for work, and I am alone watching the first rays of a humid, empty day through the windows. I am in my slippers, merely waiting, early into my second month "between jobs". Waiting: on epiphanies, promised calls, revelation, solace, inspiration.

There are few places I would rather be today than in our remote valley in Floyd County, this land that envelops us, a country that is more like home than anywhere we have ever lived. I drink the last of the morning coffee in the midst of a sanctuary of harmony and light that my eyes and internal rhythms are just now adjusting to, and it feels to me as if a healing is happening here. Solitude, health, natural beauty, time empty waiting to be filled and a smattering of expectation-- blessings brought home to me in the dark, last night.

It is late, and I am last to bed, past the usual time. I step out onto the front porch into the cool and sweet air of Early June, and sit on the top step quietly as if not to disturb the wildlife, whose nocturnal day I am entering.

The pasture grasses just beyond the maples are in full flower and their pollen smells like midnight bread baking, while Goose Creek sends up wafts of spearmint, wet mud and turbulence.

My eyes soon learn to see in darkness and I am aware of soundless flashes of summer lightning, and stars overhead. My night vision comes and goes with each flash and pause and flash. Rising from the dark field on the fragrance of grasses are tens of thousands of 'lightening bugs'. Put them in a jar; shake and watch them illumined with the cold, translucence of memory. They pulse and rise above the field in counterpoint to the tempo of the clouds, signaling ancient syllables that we could understand-if we were more often still, less troubled, and if we stood more in the darkness of our own fields.

Gravity pulls me down and I lie on my back, on cool stone, horizontal, facing out not up, into a mock-infinity of space, wondering what is my place in this world of men and of words. Do I deserve to be so blessed among Earth's anthill of humanity? What must I do in the warmth this gentle epiphany that is revealed to me tonight, and how should I then live? Maybe I will try to find the words in the morning, after the house is quiet again and the fireflies have gone to bed and the world smells of heat and ozone and toast.

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