Monday, July 6, 2009

KTD 10-Day Teachings/Woodstock/Fireflies

I am staying at one of the several places in Woodstock that are on the banks of streams that run through the village.

Tonight, after dinner, the grounds are filled with the tiny twinkling lights of fireflies. I don't see fireflies very often any more; I think they may be casualties of too much pesticide use.

I remember catching fireflies in jars in Georgia—jars that had holes punched in the lids—on summer nights when it was much more pleasant to be outside than in. We lived on a creek, and our summer nights were filled with fireflies! Our jars glowed greenish-yellow with the many tiny lights; at the end of the evening, we'd open the lids and release the fireflies.

Tiny lights in the darkness remind me of the importance of light in almost all of the world's spiritual literature—including, of course, Buddhism's emphasis on enlightenment—and of one of my favorite poets, Lew Welch, who has been very much with me in spirit throughout the 10-day teachings at KTD. Here's one of his poems, about light:


At times we're almost able to see it was once all
Light, and wants to get back to it.

Not brilliant, swift, or huge, since Light
is the measure, and we are

Flake off of All-Measure
Cinder cast down from Sun

(explaining every "fall" and why we yearn so?)

Harnessed jelly of the Stars!

-Lew Welch, "Ring of Bone"

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