My ride took me back to my old house. The trim has been repainted, a dark reddish-brown I'm not sure my mother would like on "her" house. The brick is the same pink I remember. The house seems small, as I guess they always do when you go back. The trees are all bigger, that must be the trick. I ride to look at the big new houses on the lake. Lovely. I stop there at the lake briefly to watch the sky turning purples and oranges, and I consider writing there but move on. The smell of dinner cooking comes from many of the lit houses as the trails take me behind their back fences and gates. I don't see or hear people, it is very quiet. I head towards home and my route goes right in front of my old high school. While passing I hear what is unmistakably the sound of bagpipes. The mascot's bagpipes -- memories of pep rallies and football and a million awkward and fun high school moments flood my thoughts.
I was still smiling at this as I crossed a street towards the last segment of the trail before home. It seemed much darker on this part of the trail. Heavily wooded, on one side is a golf course shielded by giant pines covered in vines, and somewhere beyond the forest on the other side are more gently lit houses with active kitchens I can smell.
I immediately slow my speed when I notice -- the forest is twinkling.
For the past few weeks I haven't been able to notice much, or feel much, or be much. But tonight the fireflies were out for me again. They welcomed me into the quiet forest, and accompanied me in flashes of my periphery all the way home.