Saturday--June 29, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 290
How To Be A Firefly Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, June 29--Ever watch a firefly?
Last night I did. In fact, it was a
whole herd of them, or flock of them.
They were Fireflies Of Vigilance.
I was sitting in the garden of my
older daughter's apartment, lush with flowers and vegetation, a grotto
snuggled in mountains of New York City concrete.
My wife was reading a recently finished
short story I am preparing to send to the New Yorker, "Conversations With
My Father's Grave."
It deals with a woman whose only friend is
her dead father's grave, and their communication about the meaning of
life. Of course, the girl is terrorized by her self-image.
To complete the final editing process, my
wife reads the story aloud. Any flaws stand out like
fireflies. Incorrect tenses, non-action verbs, fuzzy images,
technical flaws all seem to leap out and grab the ear's attention while
they may escape the eye's.
It was twilight time as my wife began to
The sun was slowly setting somewhere behind
one of the jutting concrete spires that blocks its beauty, but the sky was
soft, diffusing the remaining light so one could easily read. I thought of
the Grand Tetons and sunset.
A main theme in the story was about the
burial of the main character's mother near the beautiful Wyoming mountain
range and her father's burial near New York City.
A soft breeze massaged the garden, swirling in
and around the boxy mounds of bricks forming the edifices of other
apartment buildings that surrounded the garden.
The building directly behind my
daughter's is called Red Square, and on the top of it is a statue of Lenin
the owner salvaged from Russia after the fall of communism. It
seemed ironic the shadow of Lenin still stands--only his new resting place
is Houston Street, New York City. When we were first looking
for apartments I checked out Red Square and asked the leasing agent if you
had to be a communist to live there. She didn't find the same degree
of humor I did in the building's name.
As the wind whipped around the garden, it set into motion a bumblebee
garden propeller. I listened to my wife reading and thought
how we were performing a literary ritual rooted in rich history.
Thousands of years ago, before paper
and ink and the Guttenberg Press were as common as computers
these days, Greek orators stood on the steps of a building and told tales.
They were the authors of fiction. Around them gathered young
men and women, eager to hear the stories they told. Some of
the stories were epics and went on for days and months. The
orators used a process of mnemonic memorization, and cited new "chapters"
by various marks on columns to remind
them where they were in the story.
As my wife read I began to watch the flickering lights of the
fireflies igniting the twilight.
The iridescent green glowing from their tails started out as a soft glow,
a spark of verdant green. Then it grew in intensity as though
the firefly had control of a rheostat, and could turn the bulb of its rear
to high or low on command. At the peak of the fireflies ignition, it
glowed as a single star in the sky, a nova of turquoise and hunter green,
blended with phosphorescence magic.
One landed on my leg, another on my wife's hand.
Without the magic of their light shining, the firefly is not an attractive
"bug." It look spindly and awkward, hardly a Walt Disney
But as the luminous nocturnal insect flies away and nature's genetic
clock signals it to show its might, it transforms into a spatial moment of
beauty, pulsing and lighting the darkness.
It is mating time for the fireflies.
Their ritual includes females flashing to certain males only.
The female chooses the males based on their flash pattern. The
brighter the light, the more the interest or attraction..
But I saw the lights as symbols of Vigilance.
I saw the ignition of the spirit within them a signpost that the average
person, who may appear Complacent about fighting Terrorism, can ignite
into a Sentinel of Vigilance, can transform from an "average looking bug"
into a "magical sentinel of light."
Terrorism, I believe, has been narrowly defined
as the "hunt for bin Laden." We suffer from the exclusion of
what Terrorism is really all about. It far more pervasive and
elemental than worrying about the next anthrax attack, or the blowing up
of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July.
Terrorism is about the Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency we all suffer when we allow ourselves to be ruled by the
darkness of life. Its roots go back to our early childhood
days when we learned to Fear the Unknown, when we became Intimidated by
others who ruled our lives, and we found solace in the caves of
Complacency that we would always be too fat, too thin, not smart enough,
pretty or handsome enough, rich enough, gifted enough, loved enough ad
Emotional Terrorism is far more vast an enemy
than Physical Terrorism, for it haunts a person's soul and snuffs the
firefly's light within us, rendering us unable to shine Hope where there
is Dismay, or Joy where Sadness has taken root, or Belief where Skepticism
and Resignation have burrowed deep into our marrow.
The fireflies reminded me that everybody
can ignite their sense of Vigilance over Terrorism if they seek Courage
over Fear, Conviction to replace Intimidation, and Right Action to fill
the holes of Complacency that riddle most of our souls.
Listening to the story unfold was a bit of
magic. Fireflies danced about the bushes and flowers as
the light waned. It seemed they grew in number as my wife neared the
My story was about a woman who had shut
down her hope in the future. Her dead father was talking to
her at his grave, telling her to rekindle her spirit to live, and
instructing her to do certain things to regain her balance in life.
Essentially, he was telling her to fight her Terrorisms with Vigilance, to
employ her Courage, Conviction and take the Right Action that would free
her from her own demons of unworthiness, emptiness, loneliness and
He was for her, a "Firefly of
I wondered as we sat quietly
after the reading and looked upon the scene, how many parents considered
themselves "Fireflies of Vigilance?"
How many parents or loved ones
realized that their duty and responsibility with their children, or
children they loved, was to ignite in the child more Courage than Fear,
more Conviction than Intimidation, more Right Action than Complacency?
How many of them inadvertently
snuffed the firefly's light out of their children by neglecting their
Emotional Fears, their Emotional Intimidations, their Emotional
A mature firefly with a bright light
reminded me of a child who had been nurtured by a Parent of Vigilance--one
who fought to rid the child of "Internal Terrorists," one who taught the
child that he or she could chose to "stand above the crowd" or just be one
of many lights within it.
I noticed each firefly sought a
distinct illumination. They didn't huddle in one flock and try
to light up the whole world from one spot, but dispersed themselves and
dotted the horizon so that everywhere you looked, their pulsing
illumination told you life and magic existed. They were like
punctuation, emphasizing the beauty of Nature.
My story had a happy ending. At the
end, the main character chose to light up her firefly within.
She chose to be more Vigilant than Terrorized--but only at the prompting
of her father. Left to her own devices, she would have remained in
the "rut of life."
That's what the Pledge of Vigilance is all
about. It helps us take the Right Action
in behalf of our children. It forces us to
recognize we have duties and obligations to make our children's lights
shine as bright as possible--to be Fireflies of Vigilance.
The fireflies know instinctively that their
future demands strength from within. Their lives are geared to
one ultimate goal--glowing brighter. If they do, they
attract the strongest mate, and their children inherit that glow and
attempt to brighten it even further.
Nature seeks not to remain in status quo,
but to evolve.
So it is that we, as human beings, cannot
evolve unless we take the Right Action to insure our evolution by
strengthening our children's resolve, bolstering their ability to shine.
For a parent to not vow to maximize his or
her children's Courage, Conviction and Right Action is a state of
Complacency. It assumes the child has inherited these traits, and is
totally responsible for their maturation.
Nothing could be more incorrect.
Thousands of years ago the
muses who stood on the steps sharing stories with the children sought to
add sinew to their imaginations, their self worth, their pride, their
dignity, their ability to shine in the world. They were "Fireflies
Little has changed today.
You can be a "Firefly of Vigilance."
You can spark new hope and new faith and new belief in your children by
helping them reduce their Fear and expand their Courage. You
can brighten their
vision to the future by shining light on the shadows of their
Intimidations and helping them realize the power of Conviction and its
ability to provide handrails when the storms of Doubt and Disbelief
attack. And, you can teach them Right Action--how to stand up
for themselves in a world where so many chose to blame others and hide
from the responsibility of shining their light into the Caves of
Yes, you can be a "Firefly of Vigilance."
It all begins with taking the Pledge of Vigilance, and
vowing to help not only your child or loved one, but yourself, to shine as
bright as possible. Then, Terrorism will scuttle away, for
there will be no dark corners in which it can hide and grow and one day
To June 28--Radicals of the 60's--Unite And Fight For Vigilance
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved - a ((HYYPE))