Finding Myself (And Fireflies)

The sky is cloudy and dark. All around me is a flurry of activity and motion and I can’t help but feel like I’m falling behind. Maybe it’s the world we live in, always in transition. Maybe I’ll blame my mind, always five steps ahead of my feet. But as I look around at the students walking the campus lawn, at the workers setting up for a jazz festival scheduled to happen this afternoon, at kids and adults and random strangers who seem to have it all together, I can’t help but feel like something is missing. Like there’s something I should be doing. Like I have to run, just to catch up.

When I was a little girl I used to catch fireflies in jars. I’d snag them in-between my palms, always a mix of excited and terrified to feel their tiny wings flapping against my fingers. I’d take them and place them in a jar—one with holes at the top so they could breathe, one where I would admire them for a few moments, then set them free again. I loved watching these fireflies, the way they’d light up the interior of the jar, their golden yellow reflecting off the cool, clear glass.

Watching the world from behind a window screen, I feel like a firefly—not necessarily trapped in a permanent sense, but separated, somehow from the rest of the world.

It’s like my body, my existence has been bound by some external force, restricted by perhaps a desire to be contained and a fear to be freed into the wild unknown. As I watch people mill about, some with a calmness, some with a passion in every step, I wonder whether I’ll be the firefly that stops lighting and falls passively to the bottom of the jar, or if I’ll rise, break through the lid, and illuminate the sky.

 

 

Photo Credit: John Flannery

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