The fireflies were out last night. I sat for an hour in the dark on my bench overlooking the field – my “happy place” – and watched the light show and the aeronautic feats of bats whizzing around overhead. The sight and sounds took me right back to warm summer nights of my childhood, when I ran free in nature with a large pack of kids.
We’d catch fireflies and have big bonfires, and lie back on the grass and look at the stars. Frogs and toads trilled in the background, a big bullfrog “gallumphed” in the pond, and the breeze brought the scent of pine up from the valley. The boys tried to shoot bats that emerged from under the eaves with a BB gun but (thankfully) always had terrible aim. Clumsy big June bugs pinged us like small stones, and the tomboy next door would equally gross us out and impress us by stomping on them in her bare feet. We’d squeal and run when the skunk made his nightly appearance from under the veranda, and finally, reluctantly, go indoors and sleep off another day of fresh air and discovery.
Too many children nowadays miss out on those wonders. Parents let them waste golden days and nights in front of video games, or simply don’t have easy access to natural areas from their homes in dreary cities and suburbs.
Take them outside. Go camping. Don’t let them miss out on the joy I experienced, because every child deserves to fall in love with nature – like I did.