YOU KNOW I’M fond of piano and Bach, and then there are moose and bears. Somehow I’ve managed to weave these curious threads together into something that I can only describe as exceedingly contrapuntal, whereby unrelated, standalone stories merge together into something magnificent.
Not that piano and Bach and moose and bears, as one merged story, is cosmically stellar or anything.
Anyway, that word contrapuntal really needs to be addressed. I’ve mentioned it before but kind of left it hanging there. I do have a piano glossary I’m piecing together, according to my own understanding of the various terms I’ve assembled. As of today it’s not ready, but someday soon I’ll start adding my definitions — and since counterpoint (and contrapuntal) is central to Bach’s music, that’s where I intend to focus my efforts.
For now, though, it’s time to introduce you to glowworms.
I was going to write about the music I’ve chosen to study and my approach to teaching myself piano, but alas that must wait. We have guests coming for a visit, and in true anxiety disorder fashion I’m a bit on the frazzled end of frazzled.
Of course, whenever my husband’s parents come here, we end up having a grand time and always wish they could stay a few days longer. But the anticipation leading up to the visit tends to be very hard on me.
So I present to you the first chapter in a very short book I hope to someday complete. I simply call it Glow, for lack of a better name — and please have faith that this story very much relates to my new life as a gleeful owner of a piano. The glowworm thread is anything but random, and in my next essay I hope to reveal that to you.
Meanwhile, here you go. This is copyright protected and may not be copied in part or in whole, but I am very excited to share it with you nonetheless.
YOU WOULD PRESUME the life of a glowworm to be rather mundane. We eat, but not always; we mate, but not often; and we glow.
And that, they say, is pretty much the sum of our existence.
Some go as far as to suggest our bioluminescence is a forgery of sorts, a feigned glow we acquire by way of devious and deceptive means. We are grubs, really, and as a member of the insect underworld, we are destined for the birds and nothing more.
It is the stinkbugs that seem the most intent on discrediting our glow. On occasion the termites toss around unkind words, but I give no credence to subterranean lemmings. How can one see the sun, let alone the glow of a glowworm, when one calls home the underside of a rock or the mud walls of a meandering tube?
One stinkbug in particular seems especially keen on throwing sand at me. His name is Frederick, and he wears a blue cape.
Some days I am content to stay tucked inside the detritus beneath my favorite oak. But when I am beckoned by the need to glow, as I often am, I climb the clay mound where the daisies and poppies grow and raise myself up to the stars overhead and muster my light.
On colder nights I am often alone on my mound. The solitude is welcome.
But on other nights the quiet is not to be. As sure as the moon traverses the sky, a heavy voice rushes up from behind, and, in a flurry of blue, alights on a small twig and begins.
He never varies. It is the same every time.
“Simone the Glowworm, how regal you are, here on your throne.” Then he bows, but not too deeply, and pulls at his mustache. “Do you see any others on this balmy night?”
My father was but a flutter of wings on a night such as this. Mother has long since gone, and my siblings were eaten by a centipede. There are no others; he knows this. My glow is a solitary beacon. But I am content, I think — for a grub.
I glance up through the tree branches and see Cassiopeia, my celestial companion, her five stars my sisters, not to be confused with the seven sisters of the Pleiades.
“I suppose, Frederick, the moon does not exist unless someone sees it. I, for one, do see the moon and am quite happy it exists.”
A gnat hovers nearby, but I am not hungry, and he goes on his way. The stinkbug does not.
Frederick turns toward me and narrows his eyes and says, “What is this moon of which you speak, dear?” And then he takes flight and he is gone.
And on that note, I’ll see you next Sunday, folks.