Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fireflies and reading

I saw the first fireflies last night.  They were flashing their lights in the back yard.  I am glad that where I live hasn't been sprayed with pesticides and that these insects can enchant me as they did when I was a kid.  I would catch a few and put them in a jar to keep beside my bed at night and then let them go the next morning. 

I realize now that I was holding up the course of nature.  Those fireflies in my jar were actually flashing to communicate with potential mates. They were magical to me and seeing them last night took me back to that time of summer when I would stay out doors until way past dark, hating to finally be called inside.  I wonder if sprayed pesticides have taken their toll on the little lightening bug in my home town. Back then, there were no spray trucks that came by in the night, hissing out their poison.  And thankfully,  where I live now, there are no spray trucks either.  We live with the mosquitoes, the gnats, and the fireflies. 

I was too tired last night to post.  It was a busy day of putting new lines on the boat.  I whipped the ends which gives a really finished look to the line.  I will have to review how to do eye splices with double strand line as it is not the easiest thing in the world to do.  I ordered a book on splicing which will help as I practice on some discards. 

I am gathering up quite a few good books to keep on the boat.  Reading is something that most of us take for granted.  Yet, there are still those people who have great difficulty with reading.  A new fellow who came to a meeting the other night was so embarrassed by his inability to read that he cried.  It was so touching.  He said that he had worked all his life with his hands and never really learned to read well.  I thought that it took a lot of courage to share as he did. 

Because this was a step meeting, there was a fair amount of reading to do.  So I helped him through a few paragraphs.  He actually did well, only stumbling on a few words.  He said that he had been to one Al-Anon group where he felt looked down on.  I know that some groups are healthier than others, yet it still bothers me to hear that someone doesn't feel comfortable in a meeting.  I hope that he will come back.  He needs the program as he is struggling with active alcoholism in a relative.  Perhaps he will see that our meeting is a safe place where no one is judged.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” - Mother Teresa


  1. How drear the world would appear if it was hard to read. I hope that man will get more help like you gave him Syd.

  2. Indeed, it took a huge amount of courage to admit what he did about the reading. AND to walk into a meeting. With that kind of courage and willingness, he will gain much from Alanon.

  3. A nice post, Syd. We have a great disparity in my area with well educated (many of them retired) people and those that can barely read. I love it when they struggle through and the rest help. I also love to hear them use the words from the "Big Book" as if it were the most natural thing in the world to use those old fashioned phrases of Bill's.
    It's very touching.

  4. i can not imagine how frustrating it would be not to be able to read...imagine the freedom he could learn if someone taught him...

  5. There is one area near here, well off the beaten path, that you can go to see the fireflies. I would like to catch one, just for a moment, so I can show my son.

    I try not to take for granted how easy reading has always been for me and how much I enjoy it.

    I think any time one person helps another person read, an angel smiles. Reading is both a creature comfort and necessity at the same time.

  6. Your right, we do take reading, and many other things, for granted. I have difficulty with retention due to illness and have been made the butt of many cruel jokes from it. But, I read anyway. After all, that is the point, to complete the task that completes us. Tammy

  7. Wonderful quote from Mother Teresa.

    Some people inside meetings and outside meetings in all walks of life do get snooty as they try to elevate themselves, but somewhere along the line they are reminded we are all in this life thing together.

    I too hope the new person to the meeting returns and participates in working his own stuff.

  8. I am so grateful for the ability to read.

  9. I hope the new fella comes back, too, Syd.

    I feel the same way as you about the magic of fireflies. My Grandpa Em (from Kentucky) used to tap holes in a Mason jar lid for me, and I'd catch them, shake the jar lightly to make the light, and wonder at the beauty. I always think of Grandpa Em, who died many years ago, when I see a firefly. I miss him.

    Love to you,


  10. Reading has been my escape in the bad times, and in the good, my delight. I've taught myself how to sew, type, cook, work with stained glass, paint and garden, all with books.

    I garden organically - weeding is part of the satisfaction of working in the garden.

  11. That is a brave soul. Such courage. I am humbled in my fear of appearing "less than" and living a lie.

  12. That man is right about different meeting "attitudes." The thing is to keep seeking out different ones. I truly feel anyone can find one where they are comfortable. Give it a chance!

  13. Sometimes I feel I'm being judged at meetings. Many times I think it's just me and my insecurities - me judging myself by what I think are other people's standards. But once someone rolled their eyes after I shared. So I know it's real at times. Luckily, most people are accepting, even if I am different from the group in several respects. I need to learn more how to take what I like and leave the rest.

  14. Hi Syd, Love the fireflies!

    That non-judgmental approach is so important.Out here in rural areas many people are illiterate through no fault of their own and this means we don't use the Big Book because there are no translations into Sotho or Xhosa dialects and even if we had a translation, people could not read it. Many people don't have cars or phones, so we can't do sponsorship between meetings. What works is fellowship in meetings and sharing from the heart, showing respect for one another's experience and encouraging one another to get sober.

  15. That was a lovely post and a beautiful quote from Mother Theresa. I wish the new fellow all the good that can come from Al Anon, and as you say, he has great courage.

    I am so glad that you were able to 'whip the ends of the lines'. I haven't a clue what that means but feel sure that the boat is looking very elegant;)


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.