Philosophy With A Texas Twang

It’s the only way I can tawk.

Bloggers Are Like Fireflies

A few nights ago, my husband and I sat on the porch enjoying the cool breeze. As we talked, the thought registered in my head that the welding shop behind us was working late, because I saw the flash of a spark. Then my husband murmured, “Firefly.”

A firefly! Yes, it was and it was in our yard! All alone, he flitted back and forth flashing his light. I was so amazed that I went to the edge of the porch to watch him flicker on and off around my yard. Then, he was gone.

Do y’all have fireflies? I didn’t think we did! I haven’t seen a firefly since my children were young, and that’s been about twenty-five years. But, I remember the awe they inspired when I was a child.

At the end of the street where we lived in Grapevine, Texas there was a “huge jungle.” That’s how I picture it in my mind, but you may have experienced seeing some place from your youth and realizing it wasn’t as grand as your memories. This area was probably half the size of a normal home’s lot. It was lush with trees and undergrowth. Vines twined through the trees making it look like Tarzan’s jungle. The carpet of fallen leaves was thick beneath the trees. Even on the hottest summer day, it seemed cool in our little hideaway.

All of the kids went there to play. In the middle of our jungle was a “crawdad hole.” It was a tiny, muddy pond (not much bigger than a large hot tub) formed around a natural spring that seeped to the surface there. Crawdaddies thrived in the mud at the edge of the water. We often came there with bits of bacon on a string to entice them out of their holes. Yes, that was our favorite place to play on a summer day.

At night, our jungle was transformed into an enchanted forest! Thousand of fireflies glimmered in the trees making them look as if they were decorated with tiny twinkling Christmas lights. Have you ever stood in the darkness with thousands of fireflies twinkling all around you? It feels like standing in a magical fairyland.

This isn’t our crawdad hole; it’s a picture from Wikimedia Commons of fireflies in a forest in Germany. If you have never seen fireflies, this only gives you a bit of the feel of our “jungle.” I want you to see it in your head.

Each night in the summer, that enchanted forest beckoned us. We slipped through the screen doors into the night while our parents played cards at the kitchen tables. Armed with canning jars, with holes poked in the lids, we went to the crawdad hole to capture jars full of fireflies and marvel as they winked at us. When their lights began to fade, we set them free to be captured on another magical night. Do y’all remember doing that?

The fireflies are gone now; at least they are around town. They are victims of the poison that we spray for mosquitoes. But, I had one lonely firefly blinking on and off in my back yard, calling for his kind. The next night there were two! Maybe before summers end, he will find many of his kind.

Thinking about my firefly, I couldn’t help but remember the first few weeks when I began this blog. Y’all know exactly what I mean. I just kept writing, blinking my lights and calling for “my kind.” All bloggers are like that firefly, we just have to keep on blinking, and “our kind” will come around.

Fortunately, I’ve found you! I’m so glad you are here. Later today, if my stats don’t drop, I will celebrate my 20,000th unique visitor since April 2nd (with more than 226,000 “hits,” whatever that means). Thank you all for visiting. You give me the inspiration to keep blinking.

firework.jpg MY 20,000th visitor was ArkieMama! No prizes, but BIG THANKS!

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Some bloggers don’t have any trouble finding “their kind!” Their light is so bright that readers are drawn to them like moths to a flame (how’s that for an incongruous segue?). Jessica the Rock Chick is one of those bloggers. She’s witty, funny, intelligent, and just tons of fun. She belongs on the A-list! But, Technorati is messing with her “authority” and her rank!

rocktherockchick.jpgTechnorati makes my blood boil. And, I want the Rock Chick on the A-list (because there are perks from having “famous” friends—like maybe if I go to Chicago I can sleep on her couch!). I’ve got a little raffle going on to see if I can get you to link to her and help take her to the top. It’s called the

and I’m giving you the chance to


Go read about it at my Thursday Thirteen and enter! It’s your chance to mess with Technorati! You know that Technorati messes with you!

Here are some of the people who have have linked or commented(as of last night). If there is a number, that’s how many raffle tickets they have. Those without numbers were those who commented (and since I know they will want to link to her, I’m being generous and giving them a link). All of these people will be on my blogroll and in my Technorati Favorites, and Jessica will add them, too. A BIG thanks to you all for playing along!:

  • Beyond The Crossroads
  • Boho Rhap 4 raffle tickets
  • The Life of a School Bus Driver 4 raffle tickets
  • Tennessee Text Wrestling 1 raffle ticket
  • Buck Naked Politics 2 raffle tickets
  • Burnt Offerings
  • West of Mars
  • Single Parents Unite
  • Comedy Plus 6 raffle tickets
  • J’s Thoughts & Musings 2 raffle tickets
  • You Can’t Reason With Crazy 5 raffle tickets
  • Yellow Roses Garden 2 raffle tickets
  • Puss Reboots 2 raffle tickets
  • Miscellaneous Matters
  • Fourier Analyst 1 raffle ticket
  • Philly Transplant 1 raffle ticket
  • Ravin’ Picture Maven
  • Around The Island 1 raffle ticket
  • Wrong Blog
  • Queen of a Disney Castle
  • Cheaper Than A Happy Meal
  • Vixen’s Den 3 raffle tickets
  • Ghent Fever 1 raffle ticket
  • Lazy Daisy Log
  • Archshrk 1 raffle ticket
  • Who’s Yo Mama? 9 raffle tickets
  • Katherine
  • D3 6 raffle tickets
  • Misty Dawn 3 raffle tickets
  • Jessica Morris 3 raffle tickets
  • PhotoJulia 1 raffle ticket
  • Tales From a Former Michigander 5 tickets
  • Candid Carina 1 raffle ticket
  • Smooth Sailing

    Have y’all ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right; when you try to accomplish tasks and keep running smack dab into resistance? That was yesterday, for me. I was trying to promote the Share A Square project within my own hometown, and not a soul wanted to listen. I even put on makeup (which I don’t do for just any simple thing) so I would be presentable. But, everyone I approached about it looked at me with eyes that said, “Yeah, yeah. Everybody thinks their baby is the cutest.”

    What do you do when you aren’t making headway? Do you have ways to help yourself get “jumpstarted?” Do you have advice you want to share?

    My first impulse is to just throw up my hands and go pout (which is what I did). My second impulse is to start “thinking in story,” and that’s often when I find my answers.

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    450px-windsurf600pix.jpgMany years ago, I loved to board sail. I wasn’t a daredevil sailor, by any means, but enjoyed quiet sailing with just enough wind to carry me across the water. I relished the opportunity to harness the power of nature to get me where I wanted to go. Sometimes, I couldn’t get there in a straight line; I had to zig and zag. The pleasure wasn’t as much in the “getting to the destination” as it was in the trip to get there.

    On weekends we took our small children and joined friends at Lake Texoma to enjoy picnic and water sports. The beach where we met was perfect for the small children, because they could walk out into the water for twenty yards without the water getting as high as their chests. There were always several ski boats, and numerous board sails lining the shore waiting for anyone who wanted to try their hand at the sports.

    One weekend a friend of mine came to our gathering with her husband. I saw him walking around my sailboard looking at it with a gleam in his eye. “Do you sail?” I asked. “No,” he replied. “But, I’d like to try.”

    I had taught several people to sail, even though I was not really much of a master at it. I can be patient, if I want to be; and I can explain things well, if I listen to my words. “I’ll teach you how, if you’d like,” I said.

    He looked at me with a sneer of disgust, and said, “I don’t need a girl to tell me how to do this.”

    Girl?” I thought. I was five years older than this fellow, had been married for more than a decade and was the mother of two children. I hardly qualified as a “girl.” I held my tongue, shrugged and said, “Then, go for it, Big Guy.

    He launched the board out into the water, and tried to climb onto it. “You have to take it farther out,” I told him. “The fin will get caught in the sand.”

    “I don’t need your help!” he barked, but he did push the board into deeper water.

    He wouldn’t listen, but I’ll tell you that in the center of the board on which you stand, there is a small vertical board that goes into the water and acts like a keel on a boat. If it got stuck in the sand, he wasn’t going anywhere.

    He stood on the board and reached for the boom to try to lift the sail. The “boom” is the horizontal spar that you see the surfer holding in the picture, and it’s what you use to position the sail. However, you can’t pull a sail full of water into the air with that (the water gets very heavy!). There is a thick cord attached to the boom (called the “uphaul”) that you use to pull up the sail and dump the water off the side as you go. I watched him struggle for several minutes before I shared that information with him. He just glared at me.

    That young man pulled the sail upright, and then it knocked him into the water. He climbed back on, hauled up the sail, and it knocked him over again. “Can I give you just one piece of advice?” I asked. “NO!” he shouted.

    I decided that there was no point in talking, so I joined my friends on the beach to watch the show. We couldn’t help but laugh as he struggled with the sail and kept falling over. After about twenty minutes, the wind had blown him halfway across the slough toward the main part of the lake.

    “You’d better go help him,” his nervous wife said. So, with a sigh, I borrowed a board and sailed out to him.

    I said, “There’s only one thing I need to tell you.

    Go AWAY!” he screamed. So, I did. I went back to the beach and watched for almost an hour as he got blown farther into the lake. His wife was moaning and wailing, so finally several of us got in a ski boat to go rescue him.

    I jumped into the water and pushed him toward the boat. “Get in the boat,” I said.

    “I CAN do it,” he said.

    No, you can’t, because you won’t listen! This is MY sailboard. You can get in the boat or swim for shore.” I snapped.

    He clambered into the boat. I stood on the board and hauled up the sail. Effortlessly, I sailed a few circles around the ski boat, as I told that young man a piece of my mind.

    I’ve just got two things I want to tell you,” I said. “First, you can’t fight the wind, you have to use it. When you lift the sail, the wind has to be at your back or it will knock the sail into you and you’ll keep falling on your butt. Second, if someone who knows how to do something gives you some advice—listen! Stop letting your pride get in the way!

    With that, I leaned back and skimmed across the water.

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    Y’all, I was a lot smarter when I was younger. Those are some life lessons I had forgotten, or was ignoring. So, I’m proud to tell you that I’ve listened to some advice this morning, and I’m ready for some “tacking and jibing.” If I have to zig and zag to get where I’m going, I’m ready to do it. I’ve got the wind at my back and it’s going to be smooth sailing.

    Worm Whisperer

    Some of y’all may have read that I save turtles from the road, and you thought I was soft-hearted. The truth of the matter is that I’m a little soft-headed. I’ll save durn near any critter if I can. Even the lowly earthworms. I would have made a good Buddhist, if they’d let me eat bacon.

    You see, when I take my walk in the morning, most of my neighbors have just run their lawn sprinklers. When they do, those itty-bitty worms start wiggling out of the earth so they won’t drown. They keep on squirming until they are out on the pavement. At first, it isn’t bad for them, because the pavement is moist and it feels good. They keep right on inching along out into the street. Their minuscule little brains don’t tell them this isn’t a good idea.

    For some reason unknown to me, because it seems like easy pickin’s, the robins don’t ever think to swoop down on the pavement and gobble up these worms. Instead either the cars squash ’em flat, or the worms keep wiggling farther into the street. Not very long into the morning, the Texas sun starts blazing down and the streets dry up. So do the worms. They don’t think to turn around or change direction; they just keep going forward, even if it is to their ultimate doom. Their little carcasses, all twisted in agony, litter the streets later in the day.

    This morning, as I was rounding the corner I stopped dead in my tracks. At first I couldn’t tell if the critter on the street was a worm or a grass snake. It was at least eight inches long. By golly, it was an earthworm. The Granddaddy of All Earth Worms! That was the biggest dadburn worm I’d ever seen in all my born days! It was lost out there on the pavement. That’s why I know it was a “he-worm” instead of a “she-worm.” He didn’t take the time to stop to ask directions. [For those of you who think I didn’t take Biology, I am aware that worms have both male and female organs, but they still mate, so give me a break. I’m not as dumb as I look; this is a story.]

    Well, I squatted down beside Granddaddy Worm and started talking to him. Yes, I talked to the worm. I’m a Worm Whisperer.

    “What in the world,” I asked him, “do you think you are doing, Granddaddy? Don’t you know that you’ll get squashed flatter’n a flitter on the road? Why, if we put your brain in a blue jay, it would fly backwards; yes it would. Now, you’ve lived a long time, and this doesn’t seem like a good day to die. So, let’s just put you right back in this Asian jasmine and you can snuggle down and get back in the earth where you belong!”

    I picked up that squirmy worm and deposited him in the leaves of the yard from whence he came. Then, I stood up and wiped my hands on my shorts and looked up. A gray-haired old man was standing in his front yard. He was staring at me slack-jawed, shaking his grizzled head back and forth. He didn’t say a thing, but his eyes said it all, “Now, I’ve seen everything.”

    Well, people, I bootscooted on around the corner quicker’n a hot iron can scorch a cotton dress. I was as embarrassed as a preacher with a broken zipper. Now, I wasn’t sorry that I saved the worm; I would do that again. I was just wishing I hadn’t talked to it! I walked an extra half-mile so I wouldn’t have to pass that old man’s house again. That gave me lots of time to think. This is what I thunk: we can take a life lesson from that worm I saw this morning.

    Sometimes people are a whole lot like those earthworms. We start going down a path that is leading us nowhere (or to destruction) and we don’t even consider changing our course or turning a different direction. We might be in agony, but we just keep wiggling onward. You would think that humans, being a higher order and all, would have more sense than that.

    Ponder that awhile, and tell me what you think. Are you acting like an earthworm? Or, do you have the sense to make the changes when you see you are going nowhere?

    {Editor’s Note: This post was made into a podcast, if you would like to hear it.}