Of Lightning Bugs, Yellow and The Moonlit Path . . .

My moonlit drive began before the sun retreated, with windows down, lake reflections calling me away from a quiet house, a day of recuperation. I felt cooped. Climbing Jockey’s Ridge and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with my son and his class, going to a play, a festival, then to another lighthouse and finding seashells on the beach, all in the span of 36 hours, it turned today’s silence into a deafening crush, a shocked hush. One extreme, then the other spit me out somewhere in-between, weaving strands of rest and restlessness, shock and relief. And it all simply highlighted the fact that my life is changing. I’m supposed to be the master of my fate and I was raised on songs with lines like “I would rather be a doorkeeper in your courts than to take my fate upon myself…you are my sun and my shield…and the highway to your city runs through my heart.” It was like being asked to chop off my hands, hands that like to make, to mend. It was like being given the key to a riddle impossible. What hands turn the magic in the lock on the door to the days that are always best lived now? It was the ultimate contradiction to be raised in a world requiring a sacrifice of my raw power in order to find what is both sun and shield. My hands still weep. But I can write. And I can drive. And dig in the dirt. And. And.

And I drove my car on curving roads past fields green darkening in dusk, drove down the middle line, double then dashed then over on my side. There was no risk, no cars near, no reason to restrict the flow of speed into a careful cubicle side of the road. And I wondered of the highway, of what city runs through my heart, through the hearts in homes glowing yellow from glass pouring out the shine to falling night. I passed the Amish family’s farm quiet, resting and wondered what the long skirts were doing for those girls, for their sense of personal power. Would they ever know?

Lightning bugs were everywhere yellow oblivious of cars or time. And the lines slicing up the road into order and safety. I thought of yellow dresses, yellow light, yellow boats, yellow flight and the sun in the sky now asleep to my night. I thought of yellow’s myriad meanings, of love unrequited and restless, writhing, of love healing and of love confusing. Appropriate for the moment, the song that decided to grace my ears when I went for the music on the radio – Bittersweet Symphony. I turned it up loud, loud, the wind was amazing and it felt wonderful. All of it bitter and sweet.

Moon Over Lake Mack
Moon Over Lake Mack

Lightning bugs, fireflies – whatever your preferred tag – they floated all around, reminding me of big sisters and youngest sons capturing glowing yellow “faeries” in a jar and the mesmerizing work of life’s tides flowing in and out, across the mind, the heart, coloring a life in bright meaning, dark hues, songs to remember, to weave a thread of hope into the new melody blasting a path slowly beyond the past.

Somewhere between the two songs is the truth.

Somewhere between the extremes is eternal now and up the middle is the path, is the part of a person that never changes because she never gave away the best of herself; she never let the worst deceptions win her heart, her mind or her hands best ministrations.

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6 thoughts on “Of Lightning Bugs, Yellow and The Moonlit Path . . .

  1. Hi Ruth

    Once again you have managed to capture your moments in truth and describe them in detail as you share thoughts and feelings for those of us blessed enough to read them. Thank you.

    Amazing the things you see when in travel and to attempt to place yourself in all things witnessed is an incredible depth many will never acheive. You truely are blessed.

  2. Boys are in town tonight, a good quiet evening here to catch up. Been thinking of you lots and all you are going through. Even if I don’t take time to write much, please write any time you want. Bounce things off if need be. You’re on my mind a lot.

    I read this, and tried to understand. I shouldn’t need to understand someone elses life – we don’t need to relate but only have compassion for each other. I will never truly understand. But I can’t help but try…

    We were raised Catholic, sort of, mostly we’d go to McDonalds instead of church by the time I was a teen, so I don’t really understand religion. Most of my guests have such strong beliefs, and I so respect them for that, but just don’t follow the same book. I may not be a good Christian, but I do my best to be the best human being I possibly can. They seem to forgive me for it, and accept me for it most of the time.

    Anyway, I have tried to be open and learn a lot from others beliefs as well, and there is so often an underlying goodness and guidance traced between all religious and spiritual beliefs and practices.

    I receieved an e-mail from a friend in East Texas this week, she’s a Christian, Baptist I think. Interesting wisdom she shared with me that’s haunted me all week, and I think might help you get some greater understanding to what you are going through.

    OK, I’m not religous remember, but even I had to really think about this. She wrote:

    “I think sometimes God just needs to remind me who is in control.

    May the Lord continue to bless you and yours in all things he has given you to accomplish. May He finish the things He has started in you.”

    1. You’re always such a feast. Thank you Gin. I think we can understand basic layers and elements that recur within lives with or without similar experiences. Some things, however, are difficult to understand even for those who lived them. I’ve decided that religion is simply a construct and channel for vital (and sometimes not so vital) human energy needing development and cultivation and needing an outlet of relationship with the Divine. Or simple spirituality. This expression you comment on rolled out of me without much awareness of where it would end. It doesnt really “end” as much as it trails off into quiet. But your response is a perfect planting of seed. I moved to NC with a faith in the goodness of God and lost my already diminishing ability to remain a Christian. I continue to be unable to go back. In spite of that and probably because of that I’m not without tremendous respect and awareness of the value, as you mentioned, that can be traced “between all religious and spiritual beliefs and practicies.” My path is one of finding the golden threads from what I so passionately gave myself to for many years. Anchoring those threads into something that respects who I’ve become…that’s a bigger challenge.

      I pass that Amish family’s farm and experience appreciation for their integrity and faith, the security of holding to their beliefs soundly. The dresses those girls wear may never influence their sense of self-worth. I don’t know that my time of long-skirts influenced me negatively as a separate slice of time. But the toxic undercurrents were there in our religious endeavors (as they would be for anyone, religious or not!) and found destructive potency within our belief system. It is hard for me to understand at times and I lived it.

      There was a passage of scripture that comforted me when I walked away from a layer of influence and moved to NC. “I know the plans I have for you…plans for good and not for evil…to give you a future and a hope.” I cannot deny a sense of a Divine hand at work, weaving conspiracies of blessing and hope in spite of our foibles and missteps. Your words highlight that here. I went to bed last night having read your comment with a sense of synchronicity and the kindness of God’s love for religion’s citizens and refugees. Hugs…

  3. Hi JRuthkelly, I just wanted to let you know that I plan to read and comment on this. I’ve just been really busy this last week. But I will do it soon, now that there are no more weddings to go to or family here from out of state…

    1. Thanks HighPlainsGirl…please just call me Ruth. It’s my name, after all. I’m touched by your presence and glad you’ve included my posts in your world of comings and goings. I’ve been missing in action myself. Pausing in this dissertation and feeling life’s waves roll all over (and through!) me. I log in here and glance at the blogs and walk away with precious little to say. I’m spent. Strength to us all…

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