Neruda and the Firefly

I remember it was getting dark, and I was walking around town as I came across a dirty broken wall. On it was written in big letters:

“Every day you play with the light of the universe – Pablo Neruda”

I knew that the quote was the beginning of a famous poem. I forgot how the poem went on though. Further ahead, there was a little beach bar, and I recognized two of my friends standing outside it. They waved at me, and we started drinking. I remember being around many people; I remember everything melting together with the sunset into one big colorful puddle as I started to feel dizzy. I tried to recall that writing on the wall.

“Hey, when was the last time you sat in the dark, gazing at the stars?” asked the little firefly, curiously. The little firefly? I turned around. Apparently, I had walked quite a fair bit, and I was sitting alone by the ocean, far away from the crowds. It was so dark.

“When was the last time you inhaled the fresh breeze and felt happy? Happy for being who you are, for being where you are, leaving all worries and problems behind… When?” I observed the little firefly, shining bright, turning in circles before my eyes. “Did she really just speak to me?” I blinked in disbelief. Maybe I just had a mojito too many. I thought about the chaos in my life, and all the problems and feelings I was trying to run away from.

The little firefly now came closer, so close that it could nearly whisper into my ear: “I can see your eyes glowing, but you are just thinking about your problems. Deep down, however, you are not much different than I am”. “Ha, how can this be?” I replied in a critical tone. “You are glowing, I mean look at you. When you fly close to the sky, people can easily mistake you for a beautiful star!”

For a second, it struck me that I was actually talking to a firefly. I made sure again that there was nobody around to judge me. I was judging myself. I mean, in general. All the time.

The firefly continued: “I know you humans, whenever you feel something, you start overanalyzing, labeling your feelings, and putting them into little boxes. And then you start judging those boxes as being either good or bad, judging yourselves and others, instead of embracing the feelings that move through you. If you would just stop holding on to them so much, they would just come and pass by, and you could meet them and learn from them rather than stuffing them into boxes.”

I tried to reach for the firefly, I was disturbed by what she was saying. I wanted to catch her, to get a closer look. But she was faster than me. She flew toward the sky and disappeared.

“Don’t leave me, little firefly. I am sorry,” I muttered. I was angry at myself. But why? Maybe because she was right. What if we are all indeed glowing? Perhaps we have just forgotten about our light… our strengths. What if we just stopped judging ourselves and others? What if we would simply observe more of what really goes on around us? By simply being present with the things we cannot control, and meeting them bravely instead of hiding them in boxes. What if I told myself that I didn’t need to run from the chaos in my life, but just accept it as it is and remind myself that I can still glow?

I looked up toward the sky, there she was again… She was so tiny, but I think the two of us knew that we were both smiling at each other. I stood up, and the night around me suddenly seemed brighter. The distant lights of the bar, the fading music, the salty smell of the ocean. Everything seemed more full of life, more colorful, more intense. And then, I remembered…

Every day you play with the light of the universe. I saw myself standing on the earth as how someone looking from the moon would look at us. Our world floating among millions and millions of stars and planets, and… maybe fireflies. This magic, our unique existence, the glow that the light of the universe reflects on us – we all have it. We are so much more than the chaos in our lives and the critic inside our head. So much more than the things that do not work out, so much more than we can even begin to grasp. The light from the stars took thousands of years to reach us and shine down on earth, and the sunlight reflects on the moon, never leaving us in the dark. It is here and now that we should take our chance to play with the light of the universe, and give ourselves the permission to glow.


Credits for the picture to the beautiful and glowing @oliipic

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