Seeing Fireflies


Desiring A Certain Feeling

Out on the back deck just now and something interesting happened. It’s about ten-thirty on a mild summer night here in Toronto.

I was listening to the music being played down the way and quite enjoying it. The air was balmy and there was a lovely feeling to the night.

As my awareness drifted a little bit, I noticed glowing lights in some of the leaves of the Japanese maple just off my deck.

It looked for all the world like there were fireflies hiding in the leaves and glowing intermittently. That’s the thing, these glowing lights in the leaves would go on and off very enticingly.

At the same time, I noticed that a neighbor had installed a small fluorescent lamppost in his back yard that gave a winking light in the breeze.

It occurred to me that the glowing phenomena I was seeing in the leaves could be the reflection of this light being turned on and off as the breeze moved the leaves.

At a certain point, I found myself gawking upward at the Japanese maple trying to figure out if it was lightning bugs or a reflection from the neighbor’s lamp.

The feeling was a kind of delightful and focused anticipation and appreciation of what amazing possibilities might be. Let’s call it awe.

Bringing this all back to earth, I realized that my neck was starting to hurt and somewhat lingeringly decided to go back indoors.

The question of whether this was an enchanting display of fireflies or a fluttering reflection of a neighbor’s nightlight remained, but this all took a secondary place as I contemplated the experience.

What I wanted was that feeling. The feeling of looking out into the abyss and being awestruck.

And we very efficiently delivered that feeling, and the lovely lingering afterglow of that feeling, to ourselves without having to get into specifics about insects or fluorescent lights, none of which mattered anymore.

Very efficient use of physical reality!


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