The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date for anyone who wonders how to become a better writer. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. Today, walk the dog around the house and keep your eyes open. The clover beckons.
The ground feels soft and springy under my bare feet and the pinkish, bobble-headed clover tickles that tender place in my arch. I’m careful where I step, mindful of the honeybees. The last bits of daylight eke over the edge of the horizon and I feel the temperature drop, the damp of dew settling in for the night.
I am walking the dog around the house, and this in-between hour with its amber light reminds me of when I was little and my sister insisted she heard two rabbits speaking to each other in the fading light of evening. My brothers and I knew this hour held magic and never doubted her. Now, as I round the corner of the house, I eye a long-eared cottontail dubiously. The dog keeps walking, oblivious to the trespasser’s presence.
We trace the warm brick of this place we live in and my mind is slipping back into checklists and chores when, suddenly, nightfall is announced with flashing lights. I blink into the rhododendron, squint my eyes in the dim light.
I spy a wink to my right and reach out a hand to cup the warm glow. But this winged luminescence escapes, disappearing into the thick dark. Only now, my eyes are open wide and I see each bush on fire with twinkling conversation. I stand in wonder, lingering.
The heavy rains this year have kept the earth saturated—pockets of moisture quench its thirsty crust and draw the fireflies from their hiding places. The meadow behind our home looks like Times Square in all this glow. They say the firefly flashes his light to attract a mate—a courtship ritual. I feel the wooing, so I drop the dog off just inside the door and head to the maple tree.
My eyes are momentarily night-blind as I recline under a leafy canopy alight with amber diamonds, letting a springy bed of clover cradle me. The moist air gathers on my skin.
A firefly lands on my knee. Flashes once. Twice. I am smitten.
Image by Robin Iversen Rönnlund. Used with permission. Post by Laura Boggess of The Wellspring.
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In August we’re exploring the theme Bottled and Canned.
- The Honey Field—10: Anna’s Heart - May 24, 2023
- The Honey Field—9: Breaker - May 10, 2023
- The Honey Field—8: Swarming - April 19, 2023
Shelly Miller says
What a great artist date Laura. I’m writing about one I had on Monday that turned into a divine appointment. This piece reminds me of summer childhood trips to the Ozarks with my grandparents, flitting around with my jar, trying to make a lamp of fireflies. Lovely.
This was early summer and–as I seem to do every year–I had forgotten the wonder of a field full of fireflies in the evening. Of course, we always called them “lightening bugs” when I was a girl. And, I have done my share of flitting around with a jar in my day, Shelly! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Maureen Doallas says
Beautifully written, Laura. Easy to imagine myself being there. It’s the kind of experience I had when I visited Longwood Gardens at night and saw light artist Bruce Munro’s magical works.
(I have a tiny scar on my wrist that is the result of falling while carrying a glass jar full of lightning bugs. Those insects still captivate me.)
I will have to check out Munro, Maureen. There is something about twinkling lights, isn’t there? I would love to make it to the Smoky Mountains when the fireflies descend in mass some day. But until then, I’ll be content with my clover-seat…watching the art that nature makes 🙂
Sandra Heska King says
Late last night while walking the puppy around in the dew-drenched grass, it dawned on me there were *no* fireflies. But the clear, dark sky twinkled.
They are still hanging on here, Sandy. But growing scarce…
Megan Willome says
You’re so good, Laura!
By the way, one of my dogs is named Clover because when we brought her home from the pound, she immediately began eating the clover in the yard. My son named her.
What kind of dog is Clover? We had a little foster Boston Terrier once that looked so much like a miniature cow that she should have been called Clover :). Lucy Mae enjoys certain varieties of grass but clover is not one of them. But the bunnies love it.
Diana Trautwein says
You know, I have never seen a firefly. But I feel as if I have after reading this beautiful reverie. Thank you, Laura.
Well. You must come on over to WV and we will have us a good old firefly catch! I can’t imagine summer nights as a girl without this pastime :).I like what Ann says, though–about the Artist date taking us where we might not go on our own.
Laura Brown says
You’ve never seen a firefly?!?!?
Diana Trautwein says
I don’t think so. I’ll ask my family!!
Ann Kroeker says
Diana, I have often wondered what parts of the country have fireflies (or lightning bugs) and what don’t. Maybe not on the coasts? I’ve never researched it. My heart is sad that you have missed that enchantment, but you have found so much enchantment other places…
And one gift of these artist dates is that the writer takes us there, to places we might never go on our own, to see things we might otherwise never see.
a walk is the best kind of artsy date.
lately i have taken to carrying pen and index card. sometimes i end up with list of chores… sprinkled with things that one could only see at the vantage point and pace of a walk.
I agree, nancy. I’ve never thought of the index card. But it’s a good idea. I usually take my phone–take pictures of what inspires me. But mostly, I just breathe.
Sandra Brower says
“But this winged luminescence escapes, disappearing into the thick dark.”
This line reaches into my souland produces memories of my little ones catching and releasing these dynamic beings.
Gorgeous Laura, simply, gorgeous.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Sandra. I don’t get far from home lately–opening my eyes to beauty where I am has proven to be an age reversal formula! All the things that were dear to me as a girl seem to call me back to that place of forever young :).
Will Willingham says
We don’t get fireflies here, but I do remember when we visited Iowa cousins in the summer they would be winking all over the place. Used to catch them in jars hoping they would light up a dark room all night.
Never seemed to work. They must not be happy enough enclosed in glass. Beautiful piece, Laura. 🙂
We did the same. Poked holes in the top of the lid and threw in a few scraps of grass (as if). Those poor bugs usually made it through the night but their lights did not hold the same wonder indoors. I think we take them for granted, because they are part of our summer season. It’s good to think about how summer would be without these little faerie lights. A good exercise indeed.