The firefly tree
This is a sketch I did tonight of one beautiful moment in my life. It was many years ago when Kirk and I lived in Wiliamsburg, VA. It was also a terrible time for us. We were trying to start a family and, unbeknownst to us, the water supply in that part of Virginia was tainted with a chemical that caused stillbirths and miscarriages. I had two miscarriages while we lived there and was just heartbroken.
Heartbreak has been on my mind because my husband has just come back from visiting his baby sister who has an incurable malignant tumor in her brain. He was there to visit her of course, but mostly he was there to help with her eight children. So I was remembering this night in Williamsburg when Kirk and I went on a disconsolate evening walk. We only lived a block away from Colonial Williamsburg so we wandered over there because there was no traffic. As we headed up the dark road through the old town we saw one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life; a massive tree completely aglow with the twinkling lights of tens of thousands of fireflies. We stood still and gaped for I don't know how long and for that time the pure beauty of it erased all our grief and pain and helped me to go on.
In times like this, it does me good to remember those rare perfect respites - like coming upon the firefly tree - because it helps remind me that there will be other moments like it ahead. Sometimes I think this is the only way to get through these devastating things life serves up again and again; by leaping from moment of beauty to moment of beauty like someone leaping from stone to stone across a dark fast dangerous river.