A firefly crossed my path 

Bird Droppings June 7, 2022

A firefly crossed my path 

I wonder how many even notice when a firefly crosses their path. Most will not even stop to look at an insignificant moment in time. Today, as I sat in the darkness of a quiet morning, fireflies graced my yard for the first time; I was only outside briefly. As I watched, an occasional blip of light would appear among the shrubs, along with the tree frogs and crickets echoing through the trees. I wonder who saw the first firefly. I recall long nights of collecting as we ran around our yard in Pennsylvania, placing the fireflies in a mason jar and returning to our rooms with a unique lantern. Recently, I use my mason jar more for sweet tea than chasing bugs. 

I will be driving up to North Georgia for research this summer, and looking forward to the effort. On one occasion, I drove out of the north Georgia Mountains differently, taking the scenic route and back roads. It was a bit farther yet so enjoyable sometimes, in our hectic lives, we forget to enjoy a moment or two. 

“True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous, and it is rare.” Gilbert K. Chesterton 

When I started writing this morning, contentment was not the word I was looking for, but the ease with which it seemed to fit was appropriate right at the moment. The issues at hand seemed not significant as I sat looking for fireflies on my porch.

Contentment is an interesting word, but do we ever really find it? 

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha 

For me, what is contentment? Is it simply sitting and listening in the still of the morning, or is it feeling satisfied with a job well done and the adrenalin rush is over, and that calm permeates your every being. Perhaps you even need a sip of water to complete the effect. 

“Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.” Mohandas Gandhi 

Sometimes a thank you is all that suffices, and contentment is close at hand. I received a note from a friend yesterday who is headed back to her home stomping grounds after teaching with me for five-plus years. We have been good friends bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other, and she was my immediate supervisor for three years in our department. I am writing about how you convey all that has transpired in those years. Arguments over modifications and testing of students, having lunch and dinner with friends after a long-drawn-out serious meeting with parents and administration, trying to figure out all of the quirks of education, and still pondering that one, after all, is said and done. Many fond memories and long talks are all now stored to recall and consider as the journey goes on. We all miss her very much.

As I look back at the word contentment, yesterday, taking pictures of my friend as we all shared a few moments laughing, there was contentment in she had made the right choice in her life and for her kids.

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” Bern Williams 

Watching others meld into the vastness of reality or searching for an ember as the fire died, I wondered if the words spoken made sense to anyone but you. I wonder as I sit and think and ponder this morning. When I walk out the front door into the morning, the smell of gardenias blossoms fills the air, and it seemed in our move several years ago, we moved to a virtual garden as each day we have added to the flowers and shrubs, knowing we will be here for some time. Walking out the back door, a yellow rose miniature bush greets you. Even today, blossoms are coming, and I am reminded of a note we received several years ago. We had a large yellow rose bush beside the stairs on the front porch, and one day a note was left telling us how beautiful the flowers were. As we add more roses, I am sure more notes will be left. 

What kind of rose bush is that magnificent plant? Where did you get it? Could I get a cutting? These are all questions a few years ago would have just slipped away in the noise of the day. Today I would be taking cuttings if someone wanted or recommending my favorite nursery or two, depending on what they were looking for. I have constantly been reminded, however, that midst the flowers a thorn, yet if not for the thorn, the value of the flower would diminish wish I could remember who said that. 

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” Sarah Ban Breathnach 

Emotions and oceans are both powerful forces in their right impact us as we go through life. Sitting on a beach so many years ago, unsure how I had arrived, a friend was still waiting for me back in our room. The chill of the air made the morning seem distant as it was winter, and the beach in New Jersey can be a bit chilly at that time of year. But at that time, I was alone to think and wonder about where I was. 

“As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path… we learn to savor the small with a grateful heart.” Sarah Ban Breathnach 

Today is a new morning, a new chance to rise above and see new ideas, thoughts, and wonderings. I will go out and see, as should you, but always please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts, namaste. 

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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