I was driving home from my parents’ house in Columbia three, maybe four weeks ago. It was late, and I didn’t feel like taking the interstate because, to be honest, I don’t really know that route without taking my GPS. I wanted to get on the highway and cruise without thinking, so that’s what I did.

I was feeling low, the same type of low I’ve felt lately — since graduation, or longer, really. Maybe for the last year. It’s that unexplainable type of feeling bad, of not knowing who you are enough to know what would make you happy, of making all these big and terrifying steps toward being your real self but finding that life is still hard when you do and say things you’ve been putting off for years. Harder, even.

And then there were fireflies in the road. Fireflies everywhere, little buzzes of light glinting through the dark in the middle of nowhere. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw deer raising their heads out in the woods. On the shoulder of the road was a rabbit, off-white and standing straight up, cocking its ears. 

Nature has always made me feel kind of suffocated. That’s embarrassing to say, but I crave cities and lights and clumps of people. I like the imposing feeling of a new city, the way buildings tower over you and you feel uncomfortable and new.

So much of your time, though, you’re around people. All these people trying to do whatever they can to make it through the mess of their lives, meeting failures and successes and feeling a little baffled by both, all of us feeling more like children still than we’re willing to admit.

But when you’re around people all the time, you forget how it feels to be around fireflies. To be out in the world and realize it’s alive all around you, still, even when you feel dull and dead.

There is something out there still, and I can’t put my finger on it or give it a name, but there is something unexplored and new and good that makes it so worthwhile to keep trudging through and taking breaths.

I can’t reach it right now, but it’s there.

It’s there.