It was an oddly pretty night, a light fog and a weeping sky of pearl grey, and just the slightest tint of peach from the remnants of the sunset.
My son, Justin, and I were driving home together, after having had the $10.00 special at one of our favorite local restaurants in town. We picked up his wife, Heather, from the rehabilitation hospital where she worked. She talked of having a good day, and was delighted to see us, but even more so, to see Nalla, their beloved new puppy.
We started out for home and were only a mile or two down the road when Justin started to chant, “Pull over!” I thought he might be car sick, that the supper special wasn't so special. I pulled over. He then said, “Look!”, and pointed to an adjacent field of some type of crop... Cabbage? Alfalfa? Maybe soy or something?
I looked. It was a pretty vast field of some kind of vegetation I could obviously not make out -- big whoop. But then, my eyes registered the presence of lights, little flickering lights literally swarming above the field. This was a major infestation of delightful summer fireflies. We all oohed and aahed and watched. Not for a few seconds, but for several minutes – at my son’s wise insistence.
It looked like a replica of the Milky Way, and took our breath far away. It was glorious, mysterious, a gentle shock to the spiritual system. It was the perfect finale to a rather quiet but lovely evening.
On the remainder of the ride home, I pondered the beauty and magic of a field of fireflies. I considered the possibility that it just might be a suitable image for aging. I would do so much less, so that I could BE so much more. I would be lights, little lights, humble lights, grateful lights, swarming about the garden of my own life.
The image felt right, and it has stuck. I am out of the spotlight now. Nothing I say or do will get much notice. Still, maybe, if I live these days wisely and well, someone passing by might stop and behold a field of shimmering lights flickering all about me.
Aging not only slows us down, it calms us down, get us off the hook of trying to crackle and roar like lightning. We can be content with just a few firefly lights. Flashing tiny stars which dance and dart about the evening sky. We are well aware we are in the shadows, at twilight time, post-dusk, and readying for the coming of the blanketing night, but we still get a kick out of shedding some light in the dark.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.