You might get really thirsty eyeing a stream so clear and inviting but make for darn sure no cows are upstream. I use to drink from this very spot after a late day of chasing lightening bugs. It was just about this hour and their faint glow could be seen under the thick tree canopy. Off in the distance was the Whip-Poor Whill calling the night to take hold.
You could spook yourself with a good imagination. It isn’t for sure what hides in the mystery of the tree canopy. Along about the time the sun hides behind our mountain, a new life emerges in the cool magical moment. Lightening bugs start sending out flickering signals that pronounce it’s time to call it a day. You can find them during the day as they aren’t too hard to spot but who wants to catch a bug without a glow?
Listen for the cattle lowing. It’s a pleasant enough sound as far as lowing goes. Have you ever lowed? Lightening bugs don’t low. They glow.
One thin strand of connected wire starts humming as folks feel the need to light the afternoon chores. Off in the hollar is the misty smoke that gives our southern Appalachians their name. It’s not the same heavy mist that rises in the morning. It’s a quiet kind of setting not found anywhere else on earth. I would long for this when our travels took us far away. I would long for the glimpse of the lightening bugs playing at the edge of the pasture.
It’s so quiet except for the cows lowing, the cicada’s singing, the cricket’s call, the Whip-Poor-Whil, the babbling crick, and the sound of your footsteps crunching on the pebbles.
The connected wires run through the pasture and past the lowing cows and branch off to the mountain folk who have always lived there. Their grandparents lived there and every generation of lightening bugs from now till back when trees were more plentiful than cows on this bit of open peacefullness. No other time of day is this spot painted in the colors of a deer and a rabbit.
He’ll come out in the grasses and you won’t even know he’s there. He’s always crossed at that spot even when the road wasn’t so grand but yet held ruts from the wagons. The road has always been there except for when the folks didn’t live in the mountains. I don’t know when that was but something like this will call you back and keep the weeds off the path.
Something horrible is hiding under there and I’m not ever not never going to find out. It gets more worse and fierce as the last light fades.
The white reflection of the house lingers the memories just a bit longer but soon it fades too as night time apple butter and simmering coffee calls the weary inside.
And such is how it went when I chased lightening bugs down by the creek at the edge of our big woods on top of the mountain where my Nana and Uncle Bim took me to make memories at The Mountain House.