05 August 2010

(She is my) Firefly

Evening light falls through the windows in gauzy shades of salmon and peach. It shines infrequently and never fails to get my attention.  My imagination fancies it to be the color of her mind and heart, when she thinks of me.

I stood transfixed before the accidental rose windows of my dining room.  It was a soft mackerel sky so beautiful I wished it would last forever.  I do not recall how long I stood there.  Eventually the crick in my neck persuaded me to move.  I walked into the kitchen.

The kitchen, like the dining room, is on the northerly side of the house.  The quality of light is almost always good.  Perfect light for an artist,  or a chef,  or maybe even a photographer.  This is what I tell myself when I cook and eat and read,  standing at the stove or hunched over my laptop keyboard while sitting at the dining table.  Tonight, my humble kitchen finally looked like it really belonged to me.  Just a feeling I had basking there in the light.

I digress.  This wasn't to be about my navel-gazing ways.  It was to be about my daughter,  and something she said earlier in the day.  My reminder was a jar I had resting on the windowsill.  The jar is about quart-sized.  It once was packed full of banana pepper rings soaking in vinegar brine.  I have a weakness for peppers matured in a liquid acetylhalide* matrix, so the jars are no stranger to my household.  I had kept this one thinking I could do something else with it.  Turns out I was right.

My daughter and I had spent a fine day together.  We visited a nature center, watched some television and played card games.  Before I took her back home,  we were discussing what we had seen: geese, ducks, a fine display on wolves.  She was sitting on the couch awash in the north light.  Suddenly she looks at me and says:

"Daddy, this weekend night can we catch some fireflies?"
"Of course we can, sweetie, I already have a jar" I replied.
"Yay! I want to see the glow!"  She seemed quite pleased.

So I am standing in the kitchen, running my hands over the cool glass.  Visions of me and her running around in the backyard, giggles and delight unbound.  I was daydreaming about love and fireflies, and the fragile vessels in which we contain them.  The fireflies were swirling languidly about in the jar.  Their warm glow suffused the room with golden radiance.  

My heart was in my hands, filling up with love spilling over from her.  In that moment of grace was everything I had been chasing for months.  I smiled.  I set the jar down carefully on the sill, reminding myself to do the same with my heart.  The holes it carries, like those in the lid on the jar, will let love breathe along with the fireflies.

We will catch them, and know love. 

*I totally made up the word "acetylhalide".  I'm such a dork.


  1. You are a dork. Do you have her next weekend? Meteor shower on the 13th! Would be an excellent follow up to catching lightning bugs.

  2. you are not a dork, you are brilliant. i thought it WAS a word, so what does that make me? I haven't see a firefly in decades....i didn't know they made them still.....

  3. you are a total dork, but that's charming

  4. no comment on the dork debate.
    but I LOVE that y'all will be dancing with the fireflies together! How I would love to live in a place where those beautiful magical insects glow on a warm summer night.

    I think they don't like the heat in south TX and I don't blame them.

    I'm glad you knew I was kidding. If you didn't know then you would definitely be a dork.

    love this part: "reminding myself to do the same with my heart"

  5. Have fun catching fireflies this weekend.

    I like made up words, even if they do come from dorks.

  6. Dork. You're lucky to have fireflies to catch, they don't live this side of the Rockies.

  7. I've never seen fireflies. Always wanted to. I like the word, whether or not you are a dork. My husband says that language is evolving and made up words are perfectly cromulent, and he doesn't mean it ironically. In other words, if you are a dork, you are in good company.

    Have fun catching fireflies with someone who makes your heart happy! :)

  8. Men like you are why women like me are total "Daddy's Girls"...

  9. Nice. Catching fireflies is special. I hope that she enjoyed it.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...