Southern Lights {...things that twinkle on a Wednesday night...}

I suppose I may stand amazed at the aurora borealis someday.  But until that day comes, east Tennessee fireflies will do just fine.

Summer fireflies, and summer stars.

(photo by my Preacher, Tim Atchley)

The June night was bracing cool like October, but without the promise of painted leaves.  June's exclusive rare and separate beauty is the firefly's staccato glow.  That's what we turned aside to see, my Preacher and me;  bushes burning with gentle tempered specks of flame.

We were parked in the wilderness of our national park, glad to be where neon is not normal, and all was unopposed, purple dusk.

I felt staggered by the glory of what must have been a million fireflies, each one lit from within by some sort of genius that is wholly something otherworldly.  The tall grasses, the fence line, the trees, the entire horizon glittered and blinked.  All the night was filled with darting gleam and moving shimmer.

It wasn't splendor, it was sparkle, which is splendor's lingering train.  Sparkle is like the backside of a beauty so bright, we best only focus on the leftover glow.  This side of heaven, sparkle is what you get to look at, when you say to God, "Show me Your glory!"

I looked and looked for a long time - and then I looked up.

Unhindered starlight.  Never had I ever seen a night sky like this - remember I said the night was bracing cool?  There wan't even a smidge of humidity to un-crisp this sight.

I looked and looked for a long time - and then chose to lay right down on the concrete, because I wanted to look all night.  The Preacher lay down beside me.

I lay prone on the sun-warmed slab, bad back be danged, and star gazed.  Every now and then I thought I saw a shooting star, but it was actually a firefly high in the sky.  The thought occurred to me that this was the first time since I was a little girl that I simply and singularly enjoyed the stars.  As a teenager, I was too busy to fling myself down and see stars.  As a young mom, I star gazed with my children, and loved every moment...but was too busy teaching about stars.  I was preoccupied with making sure my little ones saw stars.

Not this night.  This night, there was full-on wonder.  This night, there was flat-out, flat-on-my-back fascination.  It was then that I really did see a shooting star.  It was like all heaven was high-fiving the revelation that worship is wonder, plain and simple.

When surrounded by sparkle, face-up prone is greater than prostrate, and all is worshipful still astonishment.

As I head outside tonight, smack-dab in the city, my home a stone's throw away from a pawn shop and the sound of motorcycles, I plan on seeing fireflies and summer stars.

(photography by Tim Atchley)

I plan on being just as amazed.


"And God said, "Let there be light!"  And there was light."  ~Genesis 1









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