Urban children and firefly dreams


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My husband’s photo of his 4-year-old wife and 4-year-old nephew on the village road

The other night, when I was resting my head on his chest, about to sleep, I saw a very thin blue light whirling above my head, I startled a little, but regained my composure very quickly and then realized that was a firefly stray into the room.

I screamed, patted his chest and said, “Honey, honey, firefly!”. He opened his eyes and looked at the firefly, calmly saying “There are many fireflies in the countryside!”. “But this is the first time I’ve seen fireflies. My FIRST TIME! So beautiful”.

NI said so and keep watching the flying path of the lost firefly. It suddenly flew to rest on his chest, right next to my eyes. I forgot that it was a tiny firefly, and even a hard breath can make it fly away right away, so instead of breathing lightly to look at it carefully, I showed a bit of excitement that made it fly away.

When I was in high school, my boyfriend told me that every summer when he went to his hometown, he could see fireflies at night when it’s pitch black, unfortunately, he couldn’t bring it for me to see, but hopefully, we would have a chance to go to his hometown to watch fireflies together. Entering college, we broke up. The dream of fireflies keeps chasing me forever.

I graduated, busy chasing other dreams, so my dream of fireflies was fading. Until the day my husband took me to his hometown for the first time. The scenery of the peaceful Northern countryside at night awakened my sleeping dream that day. My ex-boyfriend’s hometown is also in the North, thus it must be similar to this place! I thought so. But I did not tell him. I want to keep that dream as a memory between me and my first love.

Last night, the firefly appeared as a surprise gift when I was happy with the present happiness and did not expect anything. I turned around all night, thinking all the time…

I’m originally an urban kid. My family was not rich, but my parents always created the best conditions so I never felt like I was lacking anything compared with my friends. However, urban children in general lack of many things. Regarding children in the South, we are disadvantaged than children in the North because they do not feel the movement of the seasons, accordingly, the feeling of life is also less profound. And between urban children and rural children, the biggest difference is obviously the opportunity to interact with nature, to be observed and to understand thoroughly about life.

Going to my husband’s hometown, I was like a kid who had to learn from the beginning. From banana trees, grapefruit trees, eggplants, flowers, worms, chickens, etc., and fireflies. For four years I have been his wife. We come to his hometown 2 to 3 times per year. Each time, we stay there for half a month to a month. I learn by asking, observing, and memorizing. I don’t learn as well as his younger sister’s 4-year-old son who grew up in the village and could feel and learn naturally by his instinct.

In my time, the condition was not too good nor bad, but I lacked intimacy with nature like that. If we ask urban children today who are let to watch TV and iPad all day to sit quietly and not to make any trouble, after twenty years, will any of them embrace their dream of fireflies as I did back then?

If I could change something in the blueprint of my life, I would like to be born in a village to have a peaceful door to return, a peaceful river to bathe, a vast sky to fly kites, a cool garden to cook delicious meals, a grateful bright moon to sit down under which to listen to the stories of the past, and the sound of insects lulling in the ears to make me sleep better, and the sparkling light of fireflies to fall into the sweetest dreams. So, meeting him, marrying him, is a great compensation for my childhood. I often tell him that later on, our kids won’t need much talent, just need to be born healthy, to have fun with plants and nature, to grow up in love, to have a kind heart and always do things that make them feel happy.

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