The lithe girl was handed a torch by her father, which seemed poignant and appropriate.
It was formerly a substantial silver maple branch downed by a storm, resurrected for noble duty. Stuffed with coco liner remnants from an aging flower basket and wrapped in twine, it was doused in fuel and lit.
She reached for it hesitantly, and then with growing certainty. The flames swathed her face and it glowed in the dancing light, mussed hair falling about her shoulders and framing her bright eyes: one moment an ancient princess, the next a small child.
She walked a familiar trodden path holding the torch in front of her, adjusting her movement as she observed its effect on the flame.
The girl marched out into the Arkansas night and held the torch high above her head.
I hoped that the flame would show her the undulations of the land, and that it would tie her to then and to now even as it illuminated her present.
Once upon a time, I marched on Firefly Hill. That place is seared in my mind, and I knew that moment was one to clutch. There were flames, and a special land. I was small and lithe. There was then and there was now, and it is with me today.
Here’s to the daughters and the fathers, the torches and the marching, and here’s to the Arkansas that courses through our veins.