Our thanks, as always, to Margaret Renkl:
Long Live the Fireflies (and the Wildflowers and Mosquitoes, Too)
NASHVILLE — The day we moved into this house, 28 years ago next month, a thunderstorm knocked out the power late in the day. My husband was returning the rental van. Our 3-year-old was safely tucked into his old bed in his new room. As night began to fall in the silent house, I sat down on the sofa to cry.
At a routine appointment earlier in the day, I’d learned that the baby I was carrying had no heartbeat. There had been a heartbeat once, but there was no heartbeat now. All I could do was wait for my body — still puffy and tender, still so sensitive to the smell of any kind of food — to catch up. For 10 weeks I had been growing a new life. Suddenly I wasn’t growing anything at all. My body just didn’t know it yet.
Surrendering to tears after a day like that feels like a gift, but the real gift is what happened while I wept. As darkness gathered under the maple trees in our new yard, tiny lights began to wink on and off just above the ground. I got up from the sofa to look. Just beyond the picture window, there were hundreds of lights, thousands of lights, lifting up from the damp grass and rising into the black branches. Lightning bugs!
Thinking back on that moment of magic, I cannot honestly say I took those fireflies for a sign, some kind of light-in-the-darkness metaphor, although the fact that I still remember them all these years later must mean that’s what they became to me. At the time, my heart simply filled up with the beauty of a darkness bedazzled by tiny, wavering shards of light…
Read the whole op-ed here.