In New York, we called them lightning bugs but I think they are more commonly known as fireflies. As kids we would sit out on the porch on hot summer nights waiting for them to come out. Since they light up intermittently it was fun to run towards the soft green glowing light and try to spot the insect. Often by the time you got to where you thought it was, it had flown a little further away, so you would have to wait again for it to light up in order to locate it.
I liked to gently capture them in my hand and then make a loose fist. By parting my fingers I would create a peep hole and place my eye up to my hand. When the lightning bug glowed it would light up the inside of my fist. Magic!
Of course, we also put them in jars sometimes. The idea of having this mysterious crawling pulsing light in a jar on your nightstand was awfully cool. It wasn’t so great for the fireflies though. By morning they would usually be dead. The magic extinguished. I remember feeling pretty bad about killing them but I’m also fairly certain I placed them in jars more than once. I suppose remorse doesn’t stick too well when you are only seven years old.
So, I was missing lightning bugs this week and wondering if they had died off or something. I asked Jim who is native here and he said they never had fireflies in this part of Florida but he’s seen them in the Carolinas. I guess it’s too hot here? It definitely gets just as hot in New York and the Carolinas though so I don’t know. All I know is I haven’t seen one in forever. If you live where they are, say hi for me.
Oh my god, and don’t squish them! Yes, I know they leave a luminescent streak of guts and that’s super cool, but it’s so damn mean. Wait a minute. That is probably a far better way to die then suffocation in a jar. Wow. All those boys I thought were super mean were actually more merciful than I. At least squishing is fast. Just don’t do either, okay?!
It’s an interesting metaphor though, don’t you think? I mean we see something that we find beautiful and magical and we have to have it as our own, so we stifle it or squash it until the very thing we found so charming is destroyed. Boy, does that sound familiar! I’ve been thinking about this lately. I guess that’s where the lightning bug memories came from.
I made some loose associations to this concept as I was writing the comic. There’s a reason I chose Vendetta for it. It has to do with not suffocating – allowing people to shine or stumble. Remembering, you do not own anyone.
It’s about letting people change, make mistakes, etc. without smothering them or trying to manipulate them into changing. Sometimes it’s about changing them back to what or who you thought they were. Sometimes, it’s about not perceiving them accurately to begin with and as the illusion fades you’re desperate not to see the truth so you put the stranglehold on and will them to be what you want. Perhaps it’s just time for them to change in some way. Not all growth is surrounded by happiness. Sometimes, growth will come from dark times. At other times, a person’s change comes from a super growth spurt and one can fear being left behind as they soar off, so once again the temptation to hold on too tightly can emerge. Sometimes people are going to fly up so high or fall down so hard that they are simply gone from your world. I’m reminding myself of this truth right now because I do not want to ever place someone I love in a jar.
Let live was the the root of this week’s comic. I’m not sure if Vendetta got that or not but I definitely did.
Til next week….