Chasing Fireflies

Everyone talks about the unbearable heat of Washington DC in the summertime, and rightfully so, as it’s been so hot recently that I’ve worked up a sweat just walking to Starbucks for a Frappuccino.  Because of the extreme heat, I haven’t been running too often, but if I do, I go out either early in the morning or early in the evening.  Just this evening, I caught a gorgeous sunset over the national mall – the sun was a huge two-toned ball of fire, yellow on top and hot pink on bottom, simmering just above the tree-line.
So far, my favorite thing about running this summer in DC is the fireflies.  A few weeks ago, I went running at dusk, and as I ran past the green grass grounds surrounding the White House, I noticed that the grass was shimmering, lit up by tons of tiny greenish-yellow lights. The little lights were everywhere, sparking up out of nowhere and then falling back to darkness – as each one faded, another lit up close by.  My eyes followed from one light to another to another, like a cat chasing a mouse, I couldn’t keep up.

Responsible for the light-show were hundreds of fireflies.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a firefly and I’m almost certain I’ve never seen so many together at one time like this.  Although I’m 26 years old, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the bedazzled green lawn. There was something eternally youthful and majestic about the scene – it was as if a bed of shooting stars had fallen from the sky and landed in the grass.

A few days later, I went out for another run along the same path and I was surprised once again, to see the abundance of glowing lights emanating from the lawn like a Christmas tree lit up with flashing strings of lights.

On this evening, I noticed two young children running in the lawn, circling around, stopping and starting again, and laughing with pleasure – they were chasing fireflies.  The little boy yelled out, “I caught two, Katie!” and the slightly older girl yelled out, “I got four!”  A father stood on the sidewalk nearby and as I ran by him, I couldn’t help but smile awkwardly in his direction (the way I usually openly stare at cute dogs).  Although perfect strangers, I felt very close to this family, perhaps because they brought me back to a time in my youth when I’d chased fireflies. 

Although I’m not training for any races right now, I’m enjoying running very much. Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the journey without worrying about a particular goal or destination.  And who knows, if you’re out and about, you may just run into something unforgettable.


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  1. Jason on June 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Come down to Houston between now and the end of August – I'll show you hot!! 😉

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