Boy and girl speed down a tree-lined dirt road bike-bound. Untamed and unruly fields of grain fall steps behind the sweeping willows. Boy chases girl on bike. Girl chases boy back. Bikes drop in the field of tall grass and the two run clumsily toward a babbling brook. Boy pushes girl in water. Girl pushes back. Each wander knee deep. Splashing ensues until each fall completely in. Soaked head to toe, there’s no care for the clothes that are now completely drenched, and they laugh out loud. Bending over, water drips from the tips of the girl’s longest lock. The boy helps the girl navigate the stone-filled brook bottom, and with a weighted step they find the tall grass they had abandoned their wheels in. Hand in hand, they lie down, motionless and in silence to dry in smiles and sunshine.
It was my very first insect-catcher: A hand-me-down Mason jar from my great uncle. As a kid, the jar was my backyard-adventure sidekick, capturing grasshoppers, crickets, ladybugs and anything else that would crawl inside. After the death of my pet ladybug, Ruth, I learned a valuable lesson: insects need air, too. My father poked holes in the lid for me with an old rusted nail and hammer. I spent most of my time catching bugs back then, hoping I could create a small little universe within that glass container. I recall the evenings sneaking up on me much quicker with the new life extender my father had given my little jar. It was then when I discovered the beauty of fireflies. I'd catch all that I could and place them in my jar. Once I was sure I could keep them alive, I decided to have sleepovers with them; they were nature's nightlight, and now they were mine. After countless times of the same routine, I realized that the illumination was too bright: I was losing sleep. So I asked my mother to help me paint the jar red to dull the radiance of my pet flies (although I preferred to call them fairies despite what my brother said). The new color change helped. And life continued on.
I've put my bug-catching days behind me, but my affinity and connection to the outdoors has never faded. I keep my red jar on my bed stand. It's brimming with cedar chips: It reminds me of the raw beauty the world around me contains. I still have the lid, punctured with holes; it makes the perfect scent dispenser. With my eyes closed and a sweet breeze pushing through the screen, bloating the curtains, the scent of cedar twirls around the room until it hits my nose, and I'm brought back to the days when a simple jar allowed me to hold the universe in the palm of my hands.
As for why moths miss the forest: They're sick of dying in Mason jars. The End.
I then went to submit it and was warned that it must be "at most 400 characters." Ha! I'm well over that. As you may know, I'm not one for abbreviated answers.
p.s. In case you were wondering, this story is not real. It's just a fictional answer to this random question, which I decided to do in story form.
- Friend your boss. But not your boss's boss. Follow them both on Twitter.
- Don't use a photo of your child as your profile picture.
- Don't lie with your Facebook photo.
- Balance your media diet. (FYI: "Shuffle" is not a cocktail party playlist."
- Don't Google-stalk before a first date.