Fiddleheads and Fireflies

The desert is a lovely thing, a land alive with adaptable creatures and plants. A landscape of color and vibrancy I’ve seen no place else.

I love living here, but there are a few things that I miss more than I can describe. The tender green of a fiddlehead fern as it unfolds in the spring, always close to running water. The smell of damp spring smells like the first day of Creation. Or at least, the way I imagine it.

Image from via

Image from via

Years ago, I lived in rural Maryland. Two apple trees grew in the yard. They were old, and had never been trimmed. We scheduled a trimming, and the men came while I was gone. When I came back, the stumps of trees greeted me. They look struck by lightning, and in the February gloom, I sat on the porch and cried.

But the men who pruned them knew what they were doing. A few weeks’ later the trees were shot through with new green branches, all pushing out apple-green leaves, tiny at first, then unfurling to grass-green leaves the size of playing cards.

One spring night it rained. Fireflies filled the trees. They looked like tiny Christmas lights, blinking in the dark. I dreamed about it a few nights ago, and I remember that I miss fireflies. We don’t have them here, and it makes me miss them more.

–Quinn McDonald moved from the East Coast to the Sonoran Desert in 2008. She’s a writer and a life- and creativity coach.