The Outsider: Frogs, flames and fireflies
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | June 14, 2018|
As I sit in the inky blackness of eleven o’clock on Saturday evening, my world has shrunk to the fringe of grass illuminated by the glimmer of the camp fire. I stare at the flames as they lick hungrily at birch branches and I’m entranced by the mesmerizing red glow of the scorching hot coals: the urge to poke a stick into them not denied, the glow shimmers, alive, ever more enchanting.
Another log on. Watch the explosion of sparks billow up into the night sky to mingle with infinite unnamed starry constellations and boom, my world has instantly expanded from fireside to the grand swathe of universe that is laid out before me. I spot Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper and other unknown dot-to-dot patterns in the night sky. The blink blink of the International Space Station traces a path across the black vastness above, and yes, ha ha, a shooting star flashes bright as it burns through the atmosphere. Make a wish.
Then, out of the corner of my eye another flash, bright, only for a second and then off, gone. Did I see something or were my stargazing eyes playing tricks upon me?
There it was again, low, in the bush to my left, and another, too. Fireflies. The tiny little bugs making stars of their own, beautiful momentary jewels to attract lady friends, and, as I look for more bursts of bright, I listen to the nocturnal chorus of frogs and crickets. So many creatures surround me and sing, but I can see not a single one. No matter, my world has expanded again as I imagine the multitude of amorous amphibians in the miles of forest and swamp that surround me, each chirping or croaking out their own special love song.
My mate - my lovely wife - and our Little Z are tucked up cozily nearby, snuggled into downy cocoons, snoring gently while breathing in the sweet fresh evening air, their dreams perhaps infiltrated by the burbling of the river as it flows gently by our tent.
In the distance, a beaver slaps its tail on the water, disturbed from nocturnal gnawing, and I smile to myself, acknowledging the paradise in which I sit.
And you want to know the best bit, the most amazing thing about my perfect evening, I’m sitting in my own backyard. Our new tent has been pitched for the first time. A test run, if you will. Our sleeping bags aired and unrolled just for fun. We are not in some pristine backwoods campsite, nor have we trekked for miles to escape the maddening crowds. My family and I are living, breathing, seeing, hearing, feeling all of this wondrous life everyday.
And yet, sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it takes sitting by the campfire in the inky blackness of a Saturday night, a time in which we pause, stop, reflect ... It takes this to remind us of just what it is to be alive and how lucky we are to live here in this perfect wilderness.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider