I usually prefer to run in the morning, when I'm fresh and everything's quiet and new. I like to start of my day with exercise, and then feel good about it for the rest of the day. But lately I've been running more often in the evening. Tonight, the sky was a soft pink and purple, the clouds that had been threatening rain now glowing with the light of the setting sun. And what I love about running in Central Park at twilight is that when the sun starts to set, the fireflies come out.
Fireflies remind me so much of my suburban childhood, living in the northeast, running around in the backyard with the neighborhood kids while our parents sat in lounge chairs closer to the house. We'd catch fireflies in our hands, open the palms a crack and peek in, hoping that the firefly would light up, but knowing that it wouldn't. Noting how odd it was that such an ugly bug could make such a magical light.
I didn't see fireflies anymore after we moved to California--I suppose because of the climate. I didn't see them again until five years ago, my first summer of living in NY (never noticed them in Boston, for some reason). I was on the West side, heading home after watching a friend's softball match. They were out like crazy in Riverside Park. Sparkling, almost like Christmas lights. They were there on my walk home through Central Park. So beautiful.
The bats also come out at night. This reminds me of one night while living in Taiwan, standing across from Da An Gong Yuan (Big Peace Park) at twilight. One of my friends looked up into the streetlight. "I love watching the bats," he said. "The what?!" I had never noticed any bats. I looked to where he pointed, at what I had always thought were birds flying, but sure enough, they had the erratic flight of bats. Kind of creepy, really, but also cool. Observing nature in the city.
Bats fly jerkily in the lamplights of Central Park, too. I wonder if any of the bugs they're catching are fireflies.