A Firefly in the Livingroom

Do you think there is such a thing as coincidence? Or is life a series of well-timed, intentional acts?

There’s certainly plenty of evidence for the former. Lightning strikes, for example. However, you could also argue that lightning strikes result from storms, which are a scientific phenomenon that can be easily predicted. Maybe that’s one point for the latter. Of course, romantic comedies would also have you believe in perfect, serendipitous coincidence. But, romantic comedies are also shot on sets with actors and scripts. Looks like that is a draw.

But whatever your persuasion on this subject, I find that some events are simply more difficult to pin down, as either coincidence or fate, than others.

Take, for example, the other night. I’m walking with my mom around the neighborhood. We’re watching the sky darken with a storm, so we’re sort of hoofing it. We pass a corner when we smell it. Cigar smoke.

Okay, not entirely, unusual in itself. Actually, not really unusual at all, is it? Except for the fact that my grandfather (you can read about him here) used to smoke like a chimney stack. And his tobacco of choice was cigars. Add to the fact that I am always thinking about him around the summertime. At his old house, he had this beautiful porch where we could sit outside until the light died, unable to see each other’s faces but able to make out the red tip of his cigar. And of course, the fireflies that lit up the yard. He used to say, without fail, that they would arrive around the Fourth of July and then disappear shortly after.

So, when cigar smoke swept up our noses on our nightly walk, my mom immediately said it was Pop-Pop, stopping by to say hello. I agreed with her, and we rushed home before the oncoming storm could soak us.

Unbeknownst to us, we must have had a hitchhiker.

We walked through the door and plopped down on the couch, exhausted from our hurrying, but glad for it, as we heard the rain splatter on the window. Relaxing back, we heard a faint hum in the room. Looking over, we saw a firefly hovering over the coffee table. It hung in the air like a fairy and seemed suspended there. It was captivating and altogether strange.

Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones who had seen it: our pet cat was all wide eyes and twitching tail. Not wanting him to eat our good omen, I captured the bug and took it outside. It sat on my hand for a moment and then drifted lazily into the air.

Now, you could say that a firefly followed us into the house and was almost eaten by a well-fed cat. And you’d be right. And you could also say that this was more confirmation of my Pop-Pop, who wanted to send us a sign that we’d recognize. And you’d also be right (at least in my book).

But isn’t that the beautiful thing? If it was intentional, then it was simply a memorable moment. If it was a coincidence, then it was also a memorable moment. That is, if my Pop-Pop sent it, then it’s meaningful, but if it simply attached to our clothes, then it’s adorable.

That’s why you can’t pin it down; it’s both intentional and coincidental. And I truly don’t see or mind the difference that I can’t answer my original questions. Because it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about what you choose to believe, and what “brightens” your day.

Shower Singing

Author’s Note: 

I love this post. We are our truest selves when we are alone and clean. Please enjoy my thoughts for a second time!

An underrated art form, really.

Whether you use the shampoo bottle or the shower head as your microphone, you have probably belted out a few choruses under the hot stream of a shower once or twice during your time here on Earth.

But what is it about shower singing that makes it so attractive, so universal?

Well, for one, the acoustics in bathrooms are usually to die for. It’s like, I didn’t know my voice had so much vibrato, but in here, with all this soap in my eye, I can really hit that high G. For another, you’re completely alone. (Unless, of course, your cat wanders in, thinking that it hears another cat, composing some screechy mating call love song, or because it believes that it has finally found the warmest place in the house.)

But for whatever reason, being in the shower makes you feel like you have this hidden talent for singing and that you would totally pursue it if you didn’t get stage fright so easily. (Sing naked? Sure! Sing in front of people I know who may judge me for things I can’t control? Not so much.)

Of course, before you try out for The Voice, I want you to consider something: maybe you feel like you can sing because you’re relaxed. And if that’s the case, think of everything else that would come naturally to you if you could do it without nerves, without fear of judgment. If you allowed yourself to do so.

I mean, really. If you’re anything like me, you don’t sing in the shower because you genuinely believe that you have a lovely voice. You sing because it is comforting, perhaps tapping into some memory of a lullaby when you were younger. Or maybe, you just want to entertain yourself, making up new lyrics to an old favorite.

Whatever the reason, as we’ve discussed, you have no audience when you are sudsing up (except maybe for your tabby). Which is polar opposite to the rest of your life. On the bus, at work, in a park, even pumping gas, you have an audience. Someone, somewhere, even for five seconds, is looking at you, thinking about you, seeing you (horribly creepy, I know). And you are so very aware of it. It’s why we toss our hair, or smooth our shirt, or wipe our mouths. We are aware of this gaze, all of the time.

So, to completely escape this voyeurism, I believe we sing for ourselves in the shower. We take back it all back from the wandering eyes of humanity by doing something that is for our ears only. And isn’t that wonderful, that we acknowledge our own needs for once? And isn’t that so powerful, to be unburdened by clothes or the urge to perform for someone else?

In the end, it doesn’t really matter if your voice is good or not. Rather, it is with what intent that you sing, or do anything, that makes it beautiful.