Tag Archives: Quote of the week

Quote of the Week #82

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you will likely recall my talking about seeing a special kind of firefly that lives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park–the synchronous firefly. I have written several posts about my experience witnessing the hundreds of these fireflies that light up night for two weeks every year in early June–Magic for your Soul, Soundless Music and 10 things you didn’t know about fireflies.

q-4278Recently I backpacked 4.4 miles to a remote campsite in the backcountry of the park with my husband and two new friends. We arrived at our site in late afternoon, set up our tents and sat back to relax until dark. We drank lemonade rum, snacked on cheese and crackers before our dinners and played a dice game called Farkle. All was well in our world.

Later, as darkness approached, anticipation was high. Our new friends had never seen the fireflies and I badly wanted them to experience the awe I felt the first time I’d seen them, many years ago after I moved to Asheville. With a nearly-full moon already high in the sky, darkness came slowly. At 9:00, I left everyone sitting by the empty fire circle, walking back down the narrow path, looking hopefully for signs of the fireflies. I saw only a few lights. Next I explored the area behind our tents, towards the wide, rock-filled river that provided constant music. Still only a handful of lights. Growing discouraged I ventured farther up the trail, hoping perhaps that would be the “spot” where the fireflies would be gathering. Again, nothing.

I walked back to the group, wondering how it could be that the fireflies were not here. Were we too early? Too late? Was the ranger who gave me advice wrong about this spot?

My friends were quiet, looking around like me.

And then! Here a light, there a light. Here a light, there a light! Tiny lights began flashing in the darkness, low to the ground. We made our way away from our open site, to another spot just on the other side of a small stream, in a denser part of the forest. There, in the silence of the woods, surrounded by darkness, the flashing lights surrounded us! They were everywhere!

Synchronous fireflies are different than other fireflies in that they all flash, flash, flash, flash and then somehow, a signal is communicated and they all stop flashing in unison, making the night black again. It remains black for a few seconds and then the lights start up again. And this goes on and on and on until somewhere between 11:00 and midnight.

Our small group of 4 stood silently in the forest, surrounded by flashing lights. At times they seemed to all dance forward, towards us before growing still again. Blackness all around.

Then the flickering of tiny lights again, decorating the darkness and creating a silent symphony of dancing light.

Later, after we all had our fill, we moved off to settle in our tents, which were by then surrounded by flickering lights. We took off the rain fly, lying in the tent and watching contentedly the dancing lights of tiny insects gathered outside of our temporary home in the forest. It is hard to describe. Difficult to convey the emotion I felt as I watched this. Impossible to communicate why I am moved to tears by this most simple natural event that happens at this time of year in this place every year and has for many, many years. It is magical. It is special. It is food for my soul…

And so, this week’s quote–two actually because as is often the case, I could not decide.

“Silence is life’s most sacred melody,” and:

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“Life is passing rapidly. Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and remember it. Record it. Fully, whole-heartedly inhabit it. Awareness is one of the greatest things you can possess in this life as it is as important as the very air we breathe and water we drink to stay alive.” –Victoria Erickson

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Do you agree? What magical moments have you been a part of lately? Have you ventured to the Smokies to see these fireflies? What was your experience like? Have you seen fireflies in a meadow or forest near you? What was it like? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts–I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

…Here’s to making time for a magic moment near you in the very near future.

Posted in Animals, For My Soul, Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates, Nature NOW, Quote of the Week | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Quote of the Week #31

I had the pleasure of meeting with an old friend from college over the weekend–someone whom I hadn’t seen or talked to in many years. After graduation, he went his way, and I went mine, both of us starting new lives in new places. Despite our time apart, the conversation was natural and easy, both of us filling in the gaps for each other about our lives and adventures as if we’d been separated days rather than decades.

It made me think of a quote I came across a long time ago and carefully copied into volume #2 of 3 blank books I have filled over the years with meaningful quotations. This morning I went looking for it, happy when I located it, smiling when I reread it, thinking how accurately it says what I was feeling.

And so, I share it with you, as my quote of the week:

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(Again, in case you can’t read it on your tiny device:)

“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain tougher, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”  –Rex Cole

And then, before I sign off, I will offer another one, also something I copied down many years ago, this in Volume #3. Much sadder, this quote shows how important it is to keep in touch with friends, to make time for them now, even though our lives are busy.

This is a poem called Around the Corner by Henson Towne. He says,

Around the corner I have a friend, in this great city that has no end, Yet days go by and weeks rush on, and before I know it, a year is gone. And I never see my old friend’s face, for life is a swift and terrible race.  He knows I like him just as well as in the days when I rang his bell. And he rang mine.  We were younger then–and now we are busy, tired men, tired with playing a foolish game, tired with trying to make a name. “Tomorrow” I say, “I will call on Jim, just to show I’m thinking of him.” But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes; and the distance between us grows and grows. Around the corner! Yet miles away…     “Here’s a telegram, sir, Jim died today.” And that’s what we get and deserve in the end–  Around the corner, a vanished friend.

Do you have friends you haven’t seen or talked to in years? Perhaps today is the day to reach out and get in touch!

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Quote of the Week #27

wrenn2-9838I spent a good chunk of time this weekend watching our Carolina Wren pair making a nest in our hanging basket. In and out they went, adding leaves, pine needles, rootlets, and moss, never seeming to tire of the task, even when it was pouring rain. They worked on it all day Saturday and much of Sunday.

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It’s amazing when I consider what they’ve been through this year.

wrenn2-6390Their first nest was built on the top of our propane tank–a marvelous place it seemed since predators wouldn’t likely be able to climb the smooth tank to reach it but after only one egg, they abandoned it. This was way back in early spring and on a morning after temperatures were in the 30’s so perhaps the egg got too cold.

Not daunted, the wren pair rebuilt in the bowl beneath our ceiling fan on our front porch, but that too was abandoned before any eggs were ever laid. (Much to the relief of my husband who was imaging weeks without being able to use the fan or the light.)

Spot #2

Spot #2

Then they built another nest in the lovely container I put up for them that I had bought at Michaels. I was jumping for joy when I saw their messy nest in my humble offering. Sadly, when the 5 tiny babies were only four days old, something ate them. We discovered the empty nest –the box still neatly on the wall–and were saddened by the loss. It is heartbreaking to be involved in their progress only to check on them one day and find them all gone–likely someone’s breakfast. At least I know it wasn’t one of our cats.

If it were me I’d have wanted to give up at that point. 3 tries and 3 failed attempts! Nature can be so cruel sometimes, though I realize everyone has to eat.

Spot #3

Spot #3

The pair however, seemed undeterred, building their fourth nest of the season in our hanging basket.

The nest is a masterpiece, with a deep tunnel down through the center of the flowers. They enter and exit with the precision  of a fighter pilot, hardly noticeable unless you happen to be staring at it. Which I did often this weekend. It was fascinating to see what they brought and how quickly they assembled the nest. wrenn2-

Their resilience is remarkable. Time and time again, they have failed and yet, time and time again, they look around for a new spot and then go about rebuilding. And the male sings his song, again and again, from every post in our yard, announcing his commitment to this as his home. He sounds joyful, his melodious song filling the morning air and making my soul smile. I believe I can learn a lot from this wren pair–about moving on after failure and never, ever giving up. (Read another post about what else we can all learn from the wrens.)

And that brings me to today’s quote:

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What lessons have you learned lately from Mother Nature?

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Quote of the Week #26

nite--2I recently spent a night camping on one of the balds along the Appalachian Trail at Roan Mountain. It was one of the those 90 degree days that often brings drama in the afternoons, but my friend Maggie and I figured we’d chance it, ready to take cover below if need be. As we finished our dinner and nibbled on chocolate and hot lemonade with pineapple rum, we heard a faint boom behind us, turning to find a wall of thick, dark clouds on the distant horizon.  Would they come our way?

Contentedly finding shapes in the swirling clouds and chatting pleasantly, we relaxed in our “lounge chairs,” waiting to see what would happen. After the sun was swallowed by the thickening clouds, we watched, seeing a wall of gray fall from the sky above the distant ridge. Rain. But not on our mountain top. Eventually the sky above the city lights darkened and we could hear booms of thunder, like far away bombs. Bolts of lightning behind the clouds lit up the night in a dazzling display of Mother Nature’s fury. What a show!

Amazingly, the storm dissipated before reaching us so we stayed warm and dry at our grassy campsite, retiring hours later to our tents beneath a star-filled sky. Much better than fireworks…or TV!

And that brings me to the quote of the week:

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Quote of the Week #24

When was the last time you stepped outside of your “comfort zone?” When you did something that was new or different and not the same thing you do every day, every night, every week, the things you do and have been doing your entire life?

Last night, rather than plopping down on the couch to read or watch TV, I very happily spent a chunk of time in the woods, walking in the dark, looking for a special species of firefly called Blue Ghosts. These fireflies are found in pockets in southern Appalachia where the land is undisturbed, cool, moist and shady. Unlike other species that have blinking light patterns, the males of blue ghosts stay lit for 30 -60 seconds. The result is a bunch of eerie lights that streak through the darkness, as if there are many ghost children walking with tiny lanterns.

My excursion to the woods of Dupont State Forest was prompted by a phone call from a woman I’d never met who was new to the area and wanted to see them, referred to me by a friend. She had a wonderfully refreshing attitude–embracing adventure with open arms and able to laugh at herself when a mishap happened that might have derailed our plans for the evening. At half my age, she had a night filled with “firsts,” including riding in a convertible, going on a night hike, visiting a new park, and seeing glowing lights along the steep bank beside the trail. As for me, it wasn’t my first time in the woods after dark but

It did remind me of the importance of getting out of the house to give yourself  experiences, as these are what get added to your Wonderful-Moments-Memory Bank and ultimately, ENRICH YOUR LIFE. 

It’s not aways easy but it is always worthwhile.

And so, the quote of the week :

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What new thing will you do this week? Will you give YOURSELF the gift of an experience?

To read more about fireflies, Click HERE.

Special thanks to my new friend Maggie for making it happen!

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Quote of the Week #22

Years wrinkle the face, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the SOUL.

— Watterson Lowe

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Quote of the Week #19

Have you ever been stressed about what to give someone for one of the many occasions that seem to require gifts–Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a birthday or anniversary? Did you know that studies show in the long run people are more happy with experiences rather than material possessions?(Read research about this HERE, HERE, or HERE.)

Last week when I was considering what to get my Mom for Mother’s Day I could not come up with one thing that I thought she would want or need so decided to buy a plane ticket for myself to Buffalo in order to spend the weekend with her. How lucky I am to have her in my life!

It was a good plan that has allowed us a lot of together-time we don’t normally have as I live 14 hours and several states away. Since my arrival on Friday, we haven’t done anything that would make the record books; We have gone walking at several nearby parks, shared some meals, watched an evening thunderstorm just before being drenched in a downpour, reminisced over old pictures, enjoyed some wine and cheese while waiting for the sun to set over Lake Erie… but now, even after I leave, we will both have added some wonderful memories to the bank in our heads that is forever ours. In my opinion, the more great memories and experiences we have, the richer we will be.

So that brings me to this week’s quotes:

“Love is spelled T-I-M-E.”  –Dieter Uchdortimage

“Doing things makes people happier than having things.”  –Leaf Van Boven

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