The Beauty of Fireflies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALark had lived for so very long.  She had been witness to the birth of many, many years and she stood silently, and with very little notice, as those years died and turned into memories.  Her life had been filled with happiness and love and many of the dreams she chased had come to fulfillment.  Lark had lived her life as a quiet person and one of gentle manners.  She was one with an unassuming nature and the little and simple things in the world around Lark gave her such pleasure and happiness.

The gentle woman lived most of her life in an old two story log cabin nestled in a wooded area far from others and to Lark’s way of thinking, that’s the way it should be.  A small clearing in front of the home passed over the house and continued for a ways behind the cabin.  That patch of ground found the woods beyond and the small pond that touched the far edge of the group of trees.

Sarah, Lark’s granddaughter, had grown up in a suburban neighborhood and several miles from Lark’s cabin.  Sarah’s middle name was Josephine, given to her in remembrance of Lark’s father, Joseph and Lark sometimes called her Sarah Joseph.  No one could explain it but there had always been a special kinship between Lark and Sarah Joseph.  They often talked and laughed and when Sarah was young she sometimes spent a night or two at Lark’s cabin.


Sarah at Age Five

The two took walks in the woods, threw stones in the pond at the edge of the woods and set fire to marshmallows as they dangled from the ends of pointed sticks over a fire the two built in the clearing behind the cabin.  On the warm summer nights the two would sometimes catch fireflies and put them into old Mason jars with holes punched in the metal lids.  The nights at the cabin were quiet and late at night Sarah often sat in bed with pen in hand and wrote stories about her stay with her Grandma.

Sarah spent one last night at the cabin and awoke very early the following morning.  It was a cold, cold morning and frost was on the corners of the window panes.  As she walked through the doorway and out of the bedroom the aroma of bacon came into her nose.  When she came into the kitchen she found Lark bending over the old stove.  Her hands seemed to be in constant motion as she maneuvered utensils in and around a skillet with scrambled eggs while the other pan contained strips of bacon that hissed as they cooked.

The toaster on the counter sprang to life as two slices of warm golden brown bread came out of the chrome machine.  Lark looked over her shoulder and without lifting her hands from the skillets said, “good morning, did you sleep well?  Oh, can you get the toast out of the toaster and put the butter on the table; the bacon and eggs are almost ready.”

The two ate breakfast, talked and laughed.  They laughed about the cold sunny morning and the funny memories and people that both of them recalled.  The morning passed so quickly and without notice and the breakfast meal vanished from the plates.  “Leave the dishes, I’ll get them later,” Lark said to Sarah.  “Let me show you my latest cross stitch project which I just finished.  The idea came to me as I remembered one night years ago when we were here together at the cabin.”

The framed artwork that hung from a nail on Lark’s bedroom wall wasn’t very large.  The many colors of thread were sewn onto the light colored backing creating an image of the cabin and clearing in front of Lark’s home.  Sarah stared at the composition for a moment and noticed several areas of yellow colored thread.  “What are those yellow spots in the yard,” Sarah asked.  “Fireflies,” Lark replied.  “I’ve come to regret putting the fireflies in the Mason jars only to find that most of them had died.  I remember the night when we decided to remove the lid and set the fireflies free, their beauty could then be enjoyed by others and they went back to the place they belonged.

“I have come to realize that when the eastern sky welcomes a new day with the soft orange glow of morning the doe and her fawn belong in the meadow.  When the soft warm summer breeze gently moves the green leaves in the trees the butterfly belongs among the flowers in the garden.  And when the sun finally dies in the western sky the fireflies belong in the darkened black of night.  It is there where they are their most beautiful.”

Sarah always had a flair for expressing herself with pen and paper so it came to be that when the time for college arrived she went off to school and studied journalism.  Sarah graduated with honors and embarked on the only career path she could imagine, writing.  One of Sarah’s first stories was about her recollections of her grandmother Lark, the log home and fireflies.

The submission, sent to a local magazine, was entitled, “My Grandma Lark’s Fireflies.”  The last few lines of the story read, “My grandma Lark recently passed away; she was four and sixty years of age.  Grandma Lark loved life, the beauty it held and she loved fireflies.

Sarah Joseph now has a framed cross-stitched image of the log cabin, the clearing near the home and the yellow lights of fireflies hanging from a nail on the bedroom wall of her apartment.  The artwork has a stitched sentiment, “The fireflies, from grandma to Sarah.”

We tend to treat fragile beauty with such careless indifference, never giving thought to the brief time we have to enjoy its presence here on earth.

Robin Little Girl1

Sarah’s Grandma at Age Five

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