Along about dusk...
...my daughter and I unfolded an old comforter down in the backyard, laid it out perfect and square halfway between the maple and the dead ash. We settled with our faces pointed skyward, Olivia resting her head in the crook of my arm. With a cream orange sky fanned long and vibrant over the mountains and fireflies rising up lazily in pairs from the grass I felt humbled and hushed, as if we were in an audience and the curtain had just been raised on the best magic show there ever was.
One star appeared and then oh so slowly another and we made serious wishes on each. A bat swooped along in its search for dinner and a few minutes later another followed and then another as we pointed and giggled at their clumsy fluttering display. Birds soared and airplanes trailed above with flashing lights as we imagined their destinations. In no hurry, we stayed like this long past our usual time of going in and brushing teeth and getting ready for bed. Olivia turned her small frame toward me in that way she has of fitting as close and right as a puzzle piece. She smelled of lavender and sunshine. “A little longer,” she said, a mystic reading my mind, and I nodded. I allowed my own body to sink deeper into the blanket, closer to the earth. I could feel the roots I had placed here on my one acre lot of land that seemed to hold my entire world most days. I filled my lungs with deep draws of cool night air and a bird only barely silhouetted low in the ash tree began to sing. “Let’s close our eyes,” Olivia said, “and pretend that we are sisters, tiny fairy sisters resting on a lily petal. The bird is our adopted mama and she's singing us a lullaby, singing us to sleep.”
“Oh let’s,” I said and so we did.