Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fireworks, fireflies

Maybe it was the free Friday or the heavy, low clouds, but for some reason or other our neighborhood was largely empty last Fourth of July weekend.  And since the crowds around here have generally been rising with the gas prices, it was nice to have the parks and paths largely to ourselves.

Fourth of July means fireworks, of course (which we watched in the rain again this year), but it also means Wimbledon, which means that we watch and play a lot of tennis, including nearly all of the endless but remarkable Federer v. Nadal match.  We encourage The Boy and Q to participate in the rather excellent basketball and soccer programs offered by the Parks Department, but The Boy especially finds these sports underwhelming.  Instead, for some reason he favors the Country Club Sports — namely golf and tennis.  Ask him to go out and kick a ball on the grass, and he's suddenly tired; propose tossing him a tennis ball for him to return, and he immediately fetches his sneakers and talks incessantly about how he's good at following through and hitting the ball on his racquet's "sweet spot."  My lovely wife and I love tennis ourselves, so we happily spent much of the weekend lobbing balls to his forehand and dodging what he sent back.  He's not bad actually and getting better all the time.  Q can actually hit a ball or two herself, but, only 3, she quickly wants to swing or soak herself in the park fountains.  That's good stuff, too.

Saturday we spent with our good friends.  We rented a Prius for the day (a surprisingly good car, by the way), and headed out to northern New Jersey for barbequed meats and swimming and great conversation.  These friends that we've known since my wife's law-school days have three kids, and their son, the oldest, is The Boy's idol.  The two of them got to talk and do "boy stuff," which seemed important because Q likes to hang out with our friends' two daughters, both a little older than Q.  So there was talk of princesses and tea sets and gymnastics, and the boys therefore had things against which to be boys.  And my lovely wife and I had an uninterrupted chance to be adults.

Sunday night, just after we put the long weekend and Q and The Boy to bed, I went out for milk at the local Duane Reade.  On my way there through Teardrop park, I caught a pop of light right off a bush beside a bench, and then another higher up along a tree.  And then another, and another.  It was a lush night, warm with gauzy air, and fireflies had come out to enjoy it.  I caught one, and brought it back in cupped hands to the kids' bedroom.  Q was already in deep sleep unfortunately, but The Boy was very awake so he and I went back out to the park.

Outside in the thick night, we wandered the park while the fireflies entertained us.  The Boy, excited by these odd little bugs, took to theory:  "I think they make light because they like light, and at night there aren't many lights, so they have to make their own."  I can remember thinking nearly the same thing too many years ago as I stood in the grass of my grandmother's house in Gypsum, Kansas, likewise astonished by the blinking beetles that hung in the air by what seemed like the thousands, pretending to be stars.

I hope that your 4th was as memorable.

1 comment:

Nadine said...

This is why I love reading your blog so much. I always leave your website with a smile. Your family truly sounds lovely.

We actually celebrated 4th of July and Canada Day ourselves at a BBQ with some friends. Overseas Canadians and Americans unite :) Loved it.