Firefly: Light My Way

I find solace in observing my natural surroundings in my front and back yard. My house is surrounded by vast fields with many trees, plants and wildlife. I even see wildlife and other sights that most city-dwellers don’t tend to see such as coyotes, deer and even simple starry nights. All things that I love most about living in a more rural environment.

Like most people, I enjoy warm summer nights with nothing but the stars and sweet sound of crickets chirping, yet I can’t help but find myself waiting for just one month in particular. In late May, early June, as the sun sets and the skies turn black, the fields are lit up with the soft glimmer of fireflies. They dance to the song of the crickets and cicadas and mimic the sweet glow of the stars above.

 real fireflies at a calm nightAs I listen to the sweet sounds of summer and watch the dance of the fireflies, I begin to feel nostalgic. The mere site of these fireflies bring me back to my childhood where everything was so simple. Where my life was filled with wonder and awe. Where I was ignorant to the cruelty and hate in the world. For how could such cruelty exist in a world so beautiful and pure?

I can recall a memory of mine that allowed me to feel an extreme sense of connectedness with the nature found in my own front yard. It was the night following a catastrophic event where I sat, lonely and confused on the stairs of my porch. I remember peering into the dark fields feeling comatose wondering how the world could be so callous. The world lay silent with the exception of the forlorn whispers of the crickets. Their ballad complimented the tear drops that lay atop the freshly cut grass. I remember a faint smell of firewood burning in the distance that could only be detected when the gentle breeze caressed my face. I gazed up into the night sky that was as black as a raven’s coat. I sat, staring up into the sky while recalling old memories of a departed friend. I wished so desperately to be able to capture the large, orange-tinted full moon and feel the warmth of the surrounding stars on my skin.

As the night progressed, the breeze became more apparent and the temperature dropped as low as my spirits. I began to look back to the fields at the tall arundo donax and golden rod that surround the perimeter of the field. The shadow of the feather-like appearance on the top of the cane’s stem complimented the soft silhouette of the golden rod’s florets. They swayed back and forth in conjunction with the breeze’s rhythm. Their leaves rustling in the wind as they brush up against each other so carefree and effortlessly. Like a mother shushing her crying infant as if to console it; as if to console me.

I am brought back to reality when I feel a gentle touch of a glowing object on my skin. I gaze at its body as it turns from a simple black insect to an alluring shade of fluorescent yellow. The firefly’s glow is like a bright, yet subtle star that flickers in the night sky. At that moment, I couldn’t help but think that the firefly was reminding me to appreciate the simple, natural splendors that this world has to offer. After a few seconds the firefly took flight and rejoined the others within the fields once again. Subsequently, I went to bed pondering my encounter with this gentle creature.
sunrise over fieldThe following morning, I awoke to the tune of a new song. It was around 5:30 am when I turned my head towards the window to see a small beam of light peeking through my window shades. The sky was beginning to transition from a dreary night to a new day. At that moment I remembered the firefly that reminded to me to enjoy the simple things in life. So although I was still mourning, I decided to take the firefly’s advice and venture back to the spot where I had laid so dejectedly the night before.

I sat with a plush blanket around my body like a tight-knit cocoon on the steps of my porch. I watched as the sun pushed through the darkness and out from the fields below. The base of the sky just above the fields was a light periwinkle that extended up and faded into the deep purple and blue sky. There were also some purple-grey clouds that looked like cotton balls that had been pulled apart and fluffed. The large, dark orange sun emerged from the horizon with its golden rays extending throughout the fields. As its rays stretched, the field began to light up and glow as bright as the firefly. The golden rod that was once just a silhouette became a vibrant yellow with a contrasting green base. The leaves and each floret were now distinguishable with a perfect balance of long, thin, green leaves to clusters of small, complex yellow flowers. Each plant beginning to look as though they had a halo of light radiating from its core.

As the remainder of the field began to turn from a dark green shadow to many different shades of greens, purples, browns and white were now able to be seen—as though a veil had been lifted. Bright purple thistle, Queen Anne’s lace, large tufts of grass, small maple trees and milkweed that were previously hidden became apparent with the glow of the sun—now fully over the horizon but still low in the sky. With the sun’s transition, the sky became a light shade of purple and blue with the sun a bright yellow.
sparrow on grren branch
The light then reflected off of the subtle drops of dew on the grass as if it were a blanket of light laid upon each blade. The sound of the crickets no longer sounded disheartened. They were loud and filled with various tones and patterns, countered by the sweet melody of the sparrow and her children. Her whistle provided sound to the beauty of the sun and nature around me. As I watched her fly to her nest made of tan coloured, dried grass and twigs, I got a glimpse of her body. Her body was a light brown with delicate hints of dark browns, blacks, whites and orange-browns within her back feathers. As she glided her way towards her nest, she was greeted by her children who had been anxiously awaiting her arrival.

At this moment, the world felt like it was in perfect harmony. A unity between every living creature and radiance of the sun. I started to feel a sense of love and admiration, whereas the night before, I felt lifeless and disconnected from the world around me. I now feel calm and connected. Connected to the sparrow providing her children with nutrients and warmth, to the thistles that are vibrant yet sharp to the touch and even to the sky that had become brighter with each passing moment.

As more time passed, I began to recall the moment where the firefly landed on my hand. The firefly showed me that even in dark times, a small glimmer of light can help you through it. Because behind a dark sheath, there lies a beautiful world full of numerous sounds, colours, textures and scents—all working together as a single entity. This moment of realization has now become one of the most memorable times of my life. As I grew older, I started to lose touch with the nature that surrounded me. I became so consumed in a world full of social media and work that I forgot the simple, natural beauty of the earth. But I have since regained my connection to environment and all living and nonliving things in it.

I continue to find peace and serenity in the fields surrounding my home. Not only is the land around me striking, but it also fills me with joy and nostalgia. I love to reminisce and share my childhood memories and other major events that have happened in my life with nature’s melodies playing in the background—whether it be crickets chirping, coyotes howling, birds singing or even the rustling of leaves. Every piece of nature with a distinctive colour, shape, size and smell all come together and create this safe haven for me.

I will always remember and return to the spot where I have seen the most amazing natural marvels that are so dear to my heart. As for the fireflies; they will return next year and I will be looking forward to their long awaited arrival. Though here for such a short period of time, I find myself most connected to them each and every year.

I would like to say thank you to the firefly that was the light to one of my darkest days and for helping me, once again, find beauty within nature. Thank you for helping me regain my connection with the world and most of all, thank you for helping me find myself.


Photos by Fernando Gregory Milan, Sitthipong Inthason, and Grzegorz Gust

Snake

Cool September mornings
small snake wriggled
under the old screen door
a little misaligned
to warm herself
on the aluminum
sill between
the two doors
when I opened the
storm door
to warm the room
She’d slide gracefully,
out the corner
after she’d drape
on the stoop
or glide under
the porch
into darkness.

two days later
an empty snake skin
coiled on the porch was
left like a thank you card

By Elaine Reardon

snake skin on porch


Book coverElaine is a poet, herbalist, educator, and a member of the Society of Children’s BookAuthor Photo Writers & Illustrators. Her chapbook,The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, published September 2016, recently won first honors from Flutter Press as the top seller of 2016. Most recently Elaine’s poetry has been published by Three Drops from a Cauldron Journal, MASS Poet of the Moment, and poetrysuperhighway.com. Elaine lives tucked into the forest in Central Massachusetts and maintains a blog at elainereardon.wordpress.com

Photo by the author

Lavender and the Light at Dusk

Closing In

The day gains speed. A bucketful of late afternoon
upends and spreads itself across the lawn. Things loom.
A ray surges through the darkest cloud
just to crash into my fence. It shatters, sends shards
of light in parachutes to seek refuge on lavender
already heavy with bees and white butterflies.
 

Skyfall

The sun can only hang on so long
by its fingertips. Like a kitten plunging
into a well, the sun goes down clawing
and clamoring, panicked. Gram by gram,
lux-by-lost-lux, it manages one small wonder
during the free fall: Clouds of lavender
rise in its stead. Like the cat who comes back
for another life.
 

Enough

The lavender is now sucked free and done
with its purpling anyway. Free falling with a swarm
of mosquitos, doing double shots of ankle blood, the sun
is drunk before dinner. Again. White butterflies are
bedded down, sleeping off the nectar orgy. Bumblebees
are grounded due to radar problems. Frogs rise to come
to chorus, croak opinions both loud and unkind
about all the characters in the garden. Lavender blushes,
grows heavier, groans and bears it.
 

Back Inside

The full moon shines through my screen door,
puts a patina on the bundle of lavender at work in the kitchen.
On the stone table with the plastic checkered cloth,
salted butter (beautifully formed but much too soft)
waits patiently for oven-hot bread due at midnight, prepares
to conjoin with the yeasty aroma that spews
from a steaming crust. Bite by bite, increments of scent
fill the house, explain ecstasy to the body. Who will drive
the stars and their babysitters home?

By Jacalyn Carley

painting using lavender

Original art by the author. She uses lavender at harvest season as a tool for painting. This is a larger work, with India ink and oil pastels.


Jacalyn Carley lives in Berlin. Her artistic background spans several decades as a choreographer, author of four books, and much teaching along the way. Her poetry can be found on Painters and Poets.com, Rat’s Ass Review.net, Ekphrastic.net and Silver Birch Press. She is On-site Director for Sarah Lawrence College’s study abroad program: Summer Arts in Berlin. Read more about her and her work at jacalyn-carley.com.

My Everyday World

Diligently
I fill each feeder
every morning before work
I no sooner turn my back
and, just as diligently
those pesky squirrels
are doing acrobatics on the feeders

They hang upside down
swinging from their back paws
and dumping the seed to the ground
for their partners in crime
awaiting below
to enjoy the ill-gotten booty

They cannot be dissuaded
from the tempting morsels
of sunflower seeds
They are too clever for me

I put up barriers
and I pound on windows
but all they do is look
back at me as if saying
Nah-nah-nah Nah-nah
it is the same every day

By Ann Christine Tabaka

grey squirrel eating food for birds from the feeder


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo by Photo17