Raw, idiom, 14a: in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.
My family moved to Nebraska from South Dakota in 1989. I was ten at the time, and one of the revelatory discoveries my sibs and I had that first summer in Lincoln was the thrilling realization that we were finally far enough south to have fireflies. Yes, fireflies, ooh!!!
So warm summer nights back then looked like Mason jars and lightning bugs and smelled like Off! bug repellent. (Even though I was kind of a weenie about catching the damn things myself - that's what older sisters are for, though, no?)
Tonight, after a lush, green, wind-tousled asana practice under the trees shadowing the back porch, I tucked my sweaty legs into half-lotus, turned the porch swing toward the West, and watched the sun go down one last time before the homestead changes hands next week. Instead of packing, and boxing, and labeling, and sorting, as I should've been doing, I sat, and I breathed in that fresh twilight air, and I rocked back and forth on that porch swing, and swatted mosquitoes, and watched the clear cool perfect blue prairie sky melt into a palette of pinks and purples and soft sunset oranges, and I remembered playing badminton with Bek on evenings like that, back in the day, the air still enough to let the birdie fly back and forth over our wobbly net until it was so dark we couldn't see it anymore. She'd whack it hard, driving it into the ground, and I'd lob it over her head, and we'd sweat, and talk, and breathe, barefoot, there in the grass. And my father might come in from the garden and my mother might be at the piano and my little sister might ride up on her banana-seat bike and my little brother might run outside wanting us to let him play with us, and we'd shoo him away and swat the mosquitoes and watch the fireflies light up, across and over and under that skinny cheap net, and they'd buzz, and we'd marvel that the wild prairie wind had actually calmed enough for the birdie to glide unaffected, and it would be just another summer evening.
So here's to the last summer evening I'll know in this house, in this year, in this particular moment of August, these 21 years later. I've had this stellar Tony Bennett/Kermit the Frog duet on my yoga playlist for a few months now, and it never fails to make people in class soften, and smile, and chuckle, and breathe, and lighten up a bit, and take themselves a little less seriously. And we could all use a little more of that in our lives, eh?
Cheers, Tony. Thanks, Kermie. And watch for the, um, "combustive" cameo from one Miss Piggy toward the end, there, too. Love.
Tony Bennett sings Firefly (YouTube)