I had the most delightful Holiday experience the other night.
It was one of those frosty ones we’ve had recently. They are still slightly rare here in the Northwest. I got home late, parked my car, went inside and unloaded stuff and then realized no one had gotten the mail. So, I bundled back up and trudged (well, it felt like trudging) back outside in the freezing cold to collect bills and hopefully, some holiday cards, from the mailbox. When I turned around to come back in, I decided to stop for a moment and look up to enjoy the stars that are so visible on this kind of crisp, clear night. As I’d hoped, they were stunning. But, what caught my eye was something in the tops of the two giant old trees in front of the house. There were a bunch, maybe hundreds, of white sparkles flitting in and on and around those trees!!
Instantly, in my mind, I was transported to a steaming hot summer night when I was just 7 years old. I was visiting my Aunt back in Prospect Heights, Illinois. I had a huge jar in my hands for collecting FIREFLIES!! They flitted and danced all around me, exactly like these were doing at the tops of my here and now trees.
I know I’m not crazy (at least most of the time) so I knew they couldn’t possibly be fireflies but what in the world were these pirouetting lights? Having just seen the movie Arrival, my mind raced with alien visitor possibilities. Or maybe it was some strange insect migration I’d never heard of. I even wondered about a flock of thousands of those mini drones, invading the sky above my house.
I ran inside and got James and he came out to see what I was so riled up about. He was also immediately blown away and we stood there wondering and guessing out loud.
Then, we both broke down into delighted giggles! What in the world??? What was this?? We were both so tickled!
I ran back in the house to get Michael (and my camera). I knew he’d never believe me if I tried describing it so even though he was already snuggled in bed with Netflix, I pulled the Mom Card and handed him his Robe. I was hoping the “swarm” would not take off before we could get back outside. He grumbled but came anyway.
Then the sweetest thing happened. Michael apologized…almost before we could even get outside. I guess my enthusiasm and wonder were pretty BIG.) He said, “Mom, I really don’t want to burst your bubble…but these are just someone’s Christmas laser lights.” I had no idea what he meant.
Sure enough, we traced the path of lights back toward probably our neighbors, the Jones’s, yard. James, ever the scientist, got it right away, when Michael explained how they worked. But, I stayed in denial for quite a while, a disappointed seven-year-old, bargaining for this to be a never-before-seen phenomenon.
“Are you sure?” I kept asking. “How could that be? Just look up there!”
Well, Michael was right, my bubble had popped but it didn’t really burst. It was still such an amazing display to see, all those pin points of light dancing in the tops of those HUGE ancient trees I love so much! I’ve lived here for over 40 years. I raised Michael in this house. Those trees were giant when we moved in and have acted as symbolic sentinels all these years. And now, he is raising his two sons here with those trees on guard.
Michael’s reaction to my childlike glee and then disappointment was so sweet and protective (thus the Role Reversal) but the best part came the next day. He went out and bought laser lights for all around the inside and outside of the house. That next night, he said “Mom, they’re baaack. Go look out your bedroom window.” And sure enough, a new Swarm had appeared, green and red this time, all over the two younger, but still large fir trees in the back of the house.
Delightful! Thanks, my sweet Son.
PS So sorry I don’t have visual aids as usual. Apparently laser lights are hard to photograph AND my site does not support video unless I “upgrade”. Otherwise I would embarrass myself for your entertainment by posting the completely black video of those lights, but with me squealing (and denying) in the background.