Silent Lucidity

I don’t know if it is the absurdity of the news coming from those elected into power as of late or the thousands of fireflies enjoying the unmowed jungle surrounding my house, but lately I keep thinking back to summer nights spent on the wraparound porch of our house on Bayard Place. The porch encircled a stately two-story house complete with a thick wooden banister that I was determined to slide down one day (thank goodness I never did as I surely would have sailed right through the leaded-glass front door). I taught myself to ride a bike on that porch and read Oz there every afternoon. We were a block from the St. John’s River and a quick bike ride to honeysuckle bushes so thick I was convinced they were hiding a portal to another world. And in the evenings, our porch would host a congregation of neighbors sent to cure the world of all its ills.

I wonder what they would say tonight. Would they shake their heads, perplexed? Would they become so agitated they’d pace the full length of the porch? Or would they sit quietly, drowning their fears in one cold beer after another?

I don’t have any answers today, which feels odd. Back then, sitting on that porch, listening to the grown-ups complain about gas prices and unemployment and Soyuz spying on them in their living rooms, I thought I had all the answers…if someone would just let me be part of the conversation.

This week’s Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the word crystalline.

Silent Lucidity

When I was five years old, I unscrewed the metal-topped beer bottles for the neighborhood adults gathered on our porch. The crystalline liquid fueled their ingenuity, and they solved the world’s most pressing problems with a flair and finesse that would be the envy of any statesman. I listened in awe, unscrewing more metal tops while detailing the numerous points in my head that I was anxious to contribute to the discussion. But as the twilight emerged and darkness deepened, the neighbors wandered home to their dirty dishes and unpaid bills, leaving me alone to contemplate my unspoken statecraft.


  • Memories of childhood are often enlightening and unnerving at the same time. Maybe those adults would be where we are now shaking our heads and hoping for someone to save us or maybe they knew how to get those honeysuckle bushes to open up into Narnia or maybe Oz and that’s really where they went at night. I’d be glad for an alternate universe right now.

    julesdixonauthorAugust 2, 2017
    • I think these adults today would be found in microbreweries, which is both awesome (support local small businesses!!) and disheartening (disconnect from nature). There is something about porches at twilight that I find very soothing. Not *my* porch at twilight, mind you, but porches in general 😉

      C. JaiAugust 2, 2017
  • My reaction? Wished I had thought of beer as a crystalline fuel of ingenuity.
    Liked the setting, the “unspoken statecraft” of a contemplative five year old.

    D. Avery @shiftnshakeAugust 2, 2017
    • I think that five-year-old is still very much alive and kicking. She shows her hand at the oddest times…

      C. JaiAugust 3, 2017
  • Perhaps you should have pressed deeper into the honeysuckle and found the portal to elsewhere, an enchanted land that would have granted you an elixir as beautiful as the way your described beer. Nice!

    Charli MillsAugust 3, 2017
    • The really funny/sad/ironic part is I am allergic to beer.

      C. JaiAugust 3, 2017
  • I’m not sure that anyone has answers today, or none that we are happy with. It all seemed so simple when we were young and answers were crystal clear. What a wonderful reflection. Your fireflies sound amazing.

    NorahAugust 6, 2017

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