I miss fireflies.
The setting sun did its best to turn midges into gold dust for me by the river, but the midge will never have the same power as the firefly to enchant the evening sky.
A certain smell, the way the light fell in the undergrowth sent me back to childhood: to rare summer evenings when my father would take me down to the local ball park to watch the baseball game.
Before you conjure images of Uncle Sam and Apple Pie, let me say that I didn’t like baseball, and those evenings stirred all sorts of complex emotions. On the one hand there was the excitement of a little girl out in the world with her father. No small thing. Also, the excitement of walking so far into places that I was normally not allowed to go, across places that seemed dangerous and unfamiliar.
But that’s where the complexity starts, because (you see) I was never allowed out that far. I can remember distinctly the first time Dad took me: I got more and more nervous as we transgressed one boundary after another and I seem to remember saying repeatedly: are we really supposed to be here? Are we allowed to go?
He didn’t understand. To him it was a simple thing to cross the neigbourhood and go to the game. To him it was a simple thing to assume he would belong: that he was ‘allowed’ to go even though we didn’t know anyone there, and had no credentials.
My world was not so free then.
Comfort zones are so blithely transgressed by those who believe that the world is fundamentally safe, and that there is space enough for all.
I thought of all this as I walked by the river, unafraid.
It is too easy to push people out of their comfort zone without even realising that you’re doing it.
But to fully respect such boundaries? Well, that can leave us trapped in the prison of our fears and the failure of our imaginations.