We were at a blue grass concert the other night in an outdoor venue. It was one of those Western North Carolina evenings with thunderstorms popping up and dissipating as the night air began to cool everything down. The Steep Canyon Rangers were playing with a full orchestra behind them, great evening, great music.
The fireflies were out, hovering two rows in front of me. I first thought it was a floater. (An age related change in your eyes that causes shadows that glide in front of your vision.) I only have one. (So far, my Ophthalmologists tells me.) At first I saw it maneuvering in and out of my vision constantly. But like almost everything, you get used to it. (Except of course now as I think and write about it.)
They flashed independent of the music. They created sparks of light, softly and chaotically announcing there was more there than there was there. It was the evening after the Supreme Court announced that the administration’s travel ban on Muslims was constitutional. The banjo is quarreling with the violin. Their dueling creates a vibrant sense of contentious harmony. It is wondrous; it is beautiful. More fireflies find their way into my field of vision. I feel they are speaking a truth to me about my country and its future and I am concerned.
It isn’t that I disagree with every policy. It is that I hate the triumphalism and the language and the promises that all of this is going to solve all our problems. Keep them out; Build a Wall; Ship them back immediately – no recourse to judges or courts. We don’t have enough judges anyway: Where will we get them, from the barbershops?
Which brings me back to harmony. The mandolin and the bass each sing their own variations of the melody. But there is one song; there is one vision; there is one united presentation. And the differences between them are celebratory. You can feel the strength that is building as they each tell their own story and interpret the anthem in their own unique way. I don’t get that with this government. I don’t sense that from the way our leaders situate their personal beliefs and/or their political positions. It is as if everyone is playing his or her own song and no one is looking out for the band.
The fireflies are still doing their thing. I’m a symbolic thinker. Are they going on or are they flickering off? And what about the lamp beside the golden door? Perilous times.