Thursday, May 31, 2007

Guest Article on "Nice Guy, Jehovah"


I am proud to publish a comment submitted by Freyashawk in response to my "Nice Guy, Jehovah" post, as well as my telling her that I'm writing an "impeachment of Jehovah" post. What she sent as a long comment deserves to be given a prominent position. Freyashawk is a leading authority on myths. I see that she has just posted a fascinating article entitled "In Defence of God" on her outstanding blog, "Notes from Freyashawk" .

By Freyashawk

'The stories in the 'Bible' are based on very old myths and only literalists believe that myths should be accepted as literal truth. No one expects that from folktales or fairytales but then they hold the 'Bible' to a different standard. Of course, this is the fault of the writers of the books that now have been collected in the form of a single 'word of God' text as well as religious leaders who want to convince people that 'every word' is directly from the Creator.
God cannot be defined by ANY human being or limited to the restrictions of any human language. How any one can believe literally in myths that were borrowed from more ancient civilisations than the Hebrews is beyond my own (admittedly limited human) comprehension.

The story of the Great Flood is based on the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh which probably was based on even older oral accounts by storytellers. The Tower of Babel story is found in many different cultures and I think there is even an ancient Egyptian tale that mirrors it somewhat.

Here is where the entire basis of the Jewish depiction of 'Jehovah' or 'Yahweh' breaks down into utter nonsense. Why would the real God choose any tribe or group as his 'chosen people'? The entire thread that runs through the 'Old Testament', purporting to give the Hebrews some special status and special dispensation to pillage, rape and even commit genocide is more than suspect.

The creature depicted in many of the Jewish works that are incorporated in the 'Bible' is nothing more than a series of misrepresentations of God perpetrated by the Hebrews to attempt to justify their conquests of Canaan. God therefore cannot be held to account for lies and fictions created by those who purported to be his 'chosen people'. It is not God who is described by most of these tales. Yahweh probably is a misrepresentation of El in any case, so one
wouldn't wish to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Apart from this, however, the Bible contains some gems of real truth and wisdom. There are hymns of great beauty among the Psalms and philosophical declarations of wisdom by Solomon or Suleiman.

The stories of the Creation, the Tower of Babel and the Great Flood are fantastic tales that should be enjoyed and appreciated as creative interpretations of mythic events.

Unfortunately, as in the case of many religions, the 'fundamentalists' have placed an impossible burden of proof upon old myths. This does not in any way reflect upon God or the true nature of the Divine. It is human misrepresentation and that pernicious human need to control the universe that is at the root of the problem.

'I speak for God' has to be one of the worst spiritual crimes that can be committed by any human being. That is not to say that human beings cannot be inspired by the Divine or even that the 'word of God' does not exist. Common sense, however, should be used to distinguish between truth and fiction.

Those like Jesus and Muhammad who truly have spoken for God can be judged by the message: 'God is Love'. 'God is all Merciful, all Compassionate.' 'Your Lord is the Lord of all Mercy and Compassion.'
This is the Word of God, not found in any declarations of special dispensation for crimes committed by Hebrew tribes.

One last note: There is nothing 'inferior' or 'criminal' about fiction. It is one of the most wonderful gifts that the Divine has given humanity. On the other hand, people do need to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.
No one can dispute that the book of Genesis contains some beautiful poetry:

'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the Waters. And God said: Let there be Light. And there was Light. And God saw that the Light was good. And God separated the Light from the Darkness. God called the Light Day and the Darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. ... And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.' And it was so. And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night -- and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. and there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens' So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird acorrding to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let birds multiply on the earth.' And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.'

This is poetry. It is not a literal account of 'creation'. Humanity ever has sought to describe the ordering of the universe and the way in which order emerges from chaos.

In fact, another way in which creation is described in the Bible is through the declaration: 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.' (St. John)

One of the oldest Creation myths found in written form is the Enuma Elish:

'When in the height Heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu who begat them,
and Chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both,
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven:
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...'

Essentially, these Creation accounts describe a fundamental operation of magic. By naming an object and thus defining it, one brings it into existence. God named the Light and thus created it. Order from chaos... this is what is described in every Creation tale.

From ancient Sumer:

'When Anu, Bel and Ea,
The great gods, through their sure counsel
Fixed the bounds of heaven and earth,
And to the hands of the great gods entrusted
The creation of the day and the renewal of the month which they might behold.
And mankind beheld the Sun-god in the gate of his going forth,
In the midst of heaven and earth they duly created him.

In this context, the 'gods' are lesser beings called into being by the Divine.

Yahweh or Jehovah or Allah: these are names for the same Divine Being.

From Surah Al Baqarah: 'Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of the Night and Day, in the sailing of the ships through the Ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewish to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth: here indeed are Signs for those who are wise.'

God is NOT Jewish. He cannot be restricted or limited by the claims of any tribe or ethnic group. To condemn him for the misrepresentations or false pretensions of any group would be wrong.'

Monday, May 28, 2007

More Strange Questions from a Strange Mind

1. If we have very little inflation in the United States, as we're told, why does everything cost a lot more than it did last year?

2. There’s a kind of gnat in Florida whose lifetime is a single day. The gnats are born one morning and die that night, swarming around lakes and ponds, spending their time mating so that a year later a new generation of gnats will be born to live for one day. What’s the point to that?

3. To a one-day gnat, does the day last longer than for a human?

4. What changes in philosophy of life and ambitions have occurred as a result of humans expecting to live for 70 or 80 years instead of the 30-35 years of their ancestors?

5. How do women know I’m always thinking about sex even if I don’t say anything?

6. Are women correct when they say, “You men are all alike”?

7. Why do women abhor being “sex objects”, while I would love to be a sex object?

8. Why are all babies (human and otherwise) cute – or even “adorable”? (Thanks for the adjectives, Shelley.)

9. Why do so many wives say -- instead of, “It’s getting warm in here” --“It’s so hot I’m about to barf?”

10. Why are there so many different kinds of plants?

11. Which sex (men or women, in case you've forgotten) sighs and moans most audibly while doing jobs around the house? (I know, but I want to see what you say. And the answer is NOT "Women, because men never do jobs around the house." I could see that one coming.)

12. How can people say that Jesus was God and taught a religion of love, and that “God is love” (whatever that means), while still incorporating the Old Testament into their Bibles as “the word of God”?

13. Why do Americans sit up and wag their tails at the idea of “spreading democracy” while the people they’ve elected prove democracy doesn’t work?

14. Why do so many people feel much greater enthusiasm about television "celebrities" and people who repeat lines in front of cameras for a living than about real people? Why is the private life of an actress or actor or singer of special interest, or any interest at all?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Nice Guy, Jehovah

“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Brueghel

More hijinks by the Hebrew tribal god.

In the Old Testament story that follows, here mankind is, trying to improve itself, blessed with eternal peace and understanding, building a unified world, and here comes You-Know-Who to mess up the whole thing and guarantee endless wars. After I saw George Burns play the part of Jehovah in the movie “Oh , God!” I thought, “It’s true, Jehovah IS a Jewish comedian.”

(Genesis 11, King James version)

1. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
8. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Strange Questions from a Strange Mind

1. Why was I not named Rudyard?

2. How can I be sure that someone named “Fleming” living in Denmark isn’t really me?

3. If I could spend an hour seeing the world as a cat, how could I tell I’m not the cat?

4. Why are stock market predictions always wrong?

5. Why is the “news” always bad except when someone is rescued from something bad?

6. Why are humans sick so much more often than other animals?

7. Why are humans the only animals which routinely go insane?

8. As it’s no longer thought true that humans can be distinguised as “the tool using animal”, should humans be distinguished as “the crazy animal”?

9. If it’s such an advantage for humans to have all those unique facial muscles in order to communicate with facial expressions, how come my most articulate and amusing friends are people on the Internet I’ve never seen?

10.Why is the right side of most things in nature a duplicate of the left side?

11. Why is our Moon exactly the right size to cover the Sun in an eclipse?

12. Why do American politicians never do what they promise to do and yet get re-elected?

13. If smart people are possible, why are there so many stupid people?

14. Why are marriages less fun the further they get from the honeymoon instead of improving with practice?

15. If God is omniscient, why doesn't He/She/It know what we want without waiting for us to beg for it?

16. If there’s a creator God as described in the Old Testament, why didn’t He get it right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Good Old Mary!

Well, I may be giving up blogging and going on a world cruise because of wonderful news I received today. Good old Mary Crowder! I thought she'd forgotten me (I had definitely forgotten her) in spite of all my "past effort by trying to help" her and my "great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you."

Now I'll be collecting that certified "bank cheque cash able" at my bank and heading to a travel agent. Please see the email below.

It amazes me that although there have been Crowders spread all over the American South for a couple of centuries (there is even a pea named after them) Mary never has learned to write English. When she writes, "I didn't forgot you" her old English teacher must spin in her grave. Also, Mary's the only Mary Crowder I've heard of ( who doesn't have a double name like Mary Lynn, Mary Beth, Mary Lou, or Mary Ann. The Crowders never could stop with one first name.

WHAT??? You say you received the same email? And YOU? The SAME email? How can that be? Has Mary gone nuts, or is she just extremely generous?

Why, you ask, am I posting this email even though most of my five readers have also received it? Just because I love these things as entertainment. A few weeks ago I heard from the deposed Nigerian prime minister, who addressed me as "My dear", and I read his email five times. I never could decide whether to send his solicitor that US$1000 which was needed to get the $800,000 into my account, and now I'm glad I didn't because Mary's gift has no strings attached.


> Dear Friend,
> How are you today, hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail
meets you in a perfect condition. I didn't forgot your past effort by trying to
help me, now i want to tell you that i have succeeded in getting those funds
transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from Paraguay.
> I want to use this opportunity to thank you for your great effort to our
unfinished transfer of fund into your account due to one reason or the other
best known to you. But I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred
the fund out of my bank to someone else account who was capable of assisting me
in this great venture through the help of the diplomat i told you about. Due to
your effort, sincerity,courage and trustworthiness, you showed at the course of
the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the
sum of $750,000USD.
> I have authorized my new lawyer who is now also my legal adviser to issue you
international certified bank cheque cash able at your bank.My dear friend I will
like you to contact the lawyer for the collection of this international
certified bank cheque.

> TELEPHONE: +234-805-341-6375
> Email:

> Thanks and God bless you and your family.
> Hope to hear from you soon.
> Your Sincerely,
> Mary Crowder

My blog friends, I'm including the lawyer information because I trust you not to try to grab my money for yourselves.


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Game of Light and Mirrors

A few nights ago I experienced a vivid mental image. Whether it was a dream or a “vision” or something else I don’t know, but it woke me up accompanied by a clear perception of its meaning.

I saw a cluster of mirrors arranged at different angles more or less in a circle facing one another at different levels, more like the inside of a ball than a flat circle, so that every mirror faced other mirrors. There were different colors reflecting from some of the mirrors. I couldn’t see images in the mirrors.

It was a closed system seen against a big black background, as you might see a tight constellation of stars against the night sky. The mirrors did not impress me as large, but they could have been huge or small because there was nothing to measure them against or to give perspective.

The vision came, conveniently, with its own explanation: This is the game that consciousness plays with itself. This is all there is. There is nothing beyond the mirrors.

It made me think of ping pong.

I had the feeling of a revelation, of an insight into what we call reality -- a closed system game of light and mirrors. And I felt a kind of cosmic aloneness.

The main thing that impressed me was, “There is nothing outside the cluster of mirrors.” And yet, presumably everything that I sense and know and feel is created within the cluster.

(I wrote about my fascination with reflections, in different respects, in ”Reflections” and “More Reflections” early this year.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Continuing Story of Star and Lovey

Not long ago they were strangers. Now they are inseparable.

The setting needs a little explanation: The living room of our home is separated by a glass sliding door from a glassed-in back porch. Beyond the porch is the screened pool area separated from the porch by sliding glass doors and a cat door. Although we eat lunch on the porch and swim in the pool, that area is the Kingdom of Cats. There they roam, eat, sleep, and have their litter boxes.

Once there were four felines in the Kingdom of Cats. When only Lovey remained, Star, five weeks old and motherless, was brought to be his companion. She had to live and grow mainly in my computer room for two weeks, gradually being introduced to Lovey and the rest of the house.

As you can see from previously posted pictures, once she and Lovey became friends their favorite sports became “Peekaboo” and “Ambush” under and around the striped sheet draped over the lounge chair on the porch. It soon came to pass that Lovey would be sitting on the porch side of the glass door at dawn, waiting for Star to be let out. Sometimes he wailed. Star would station herself on the living room side of the door. Star would mew for Lovey when she saw him through the glass. When the door was opened, “Peekaboo,” “Ambush” and wrestling instantly began and might continue for a couple of hours nonstop.

Star seems to grow in sections. First she suddenly got higher off the ground as her legs became longer. Then she seemed to gain about an inch in length overnight. Then it was the turn of her legs again. In the time she’s been here she has doubled in size and weight (almost 2 pounds now) and has progressively manifested cat behavior which no one taught her: From running and biting and wanting to be held all the time to leaping sidewise, arching her back, batting things around the floor and off my desk. The desire to climb everything became more and more obvious, and then jumping -- leaping longer and longer distances, until within the past 48 hours she has jumped onto things and off of things that were previously way beyond her range. No table top is safe now. Lovey no longer has high refuges from which to look down on her. Star simply jumps and scrambles until she is beside him, no matter where he goes.

Only very recently did she begin to clean and groom herself as adult cats do – licking her paws and washing her face. I suppose that until now the mother cat would have done the kitten-cleaning jobs, but now, at eight weeks, Star is becoming independent. Bets are being placed as to how soon she’ll overcome the last obstacle to freedom – discovering and learning to use the cat door which leads from the porch to the pool deck. She has been on the pool deck and has explored the potted plants, but only if the sliding door is opened. Her obsession with the water has, hopefully, been dampened since her precarious explorations of the deck’s edge led to her rear legs dropping momentarily into the pool.

Star has, for the first time, spent the last two nights on the porch with Lovey instead of shut in the house. They’re both very happy about that. It didn’t take her long to get into his food and his litter box and prove she was old enough to handle both, and so today my room ceased being a nursery and became my den and computer room again as Star’s things were placed on the porch and a major cleaning took place. Star still comes into the house when she pleases, taking naps on a Julia’s recliner in the living room or playing on the shiny kitchen floor, but she is moving more and more toward a life on the porch and pool deck with Lovey.

Here are a few choice pictures of the little beauty taken by Julia Lee, copyright 2007.

The Art Critic

Those toes are made for bitin'
And that's just what I'll do.
One of these days those toes
Are gonna come right offa' you!

All photographs copyrighted 2007 by Julia Lee, who also wrote the toe-biting song.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Kitten Meets Pool Monster

That is Elegant Twinkle Star on the left, but that is not big cat Detective Inspector Lovey on the right. Never mind who that is on the right.

Monday, May 7, 2007


Because of a question I received about the reference to the firefly speaking to the frog in the previous post, I've decided to republish my children's story, THE LAST FIREFLY.



Fleming Lee

© 2006 Fleming Lee

Early one spring, late one morning, a firefly was born.

The sun shone brightly all around the tiny firefly. But the firefly did not know what the sun was because he had never seen sunshine before. He did not even know that he was a firefly. He just knew that he was here.

He did not know that he was sitting on a leaf on a bush by a lake because he had never seen a leaf or water before. He did not know what anything was, because he had never seen anything before. There was no one to tell him or teach him. He found himself all alone in a place he knew nothing about.

He stood on his leaf for a long time, looking around, wondering. He had wings, and he moved them slowly up and down, but at first he did not know what they were for. Then, when he moved them faster, he rose above the bush and flew into the air.
"This is fun," he thought, "but where am I supposed to fly? What am I supposed to do?"

Soon he saw that he was not the only creature flying around. He saw lots of birds, but he did not know what a bird was. Some were large and some were small, but none were as little as he was. He was no bigger than a grain of rice.

Some ducks flew over the lake. The firefly tried to catch up with them so he could find out if he was also a bird, but they were much too fast. A family of cranes flew over with loud, rattling cries. They did not fly as fast as the ducks, but they were much too big and noisy.

Then the firefly saw a robin hopping around on the ground looking for food. The firefly landed on the ground in front of the bird.

"Please, what are you?" the firefly asked.

"I'm a bird, of course," the robin replied.

"Am I a bird?" the firefly asked.

The robin thought that was funny.

"Of course you aren't a bird. You look like a beetle to me."

"What's a beetle?"

"It's a little bug, like you. Often very tasty."


The robin hopped closer to the firefly and said, "Yes, tasty. Delicious, in fact. Do you know what 'delicious' means?"

"I don't know what anything means. I was just born."

"'Delicious' means 'very good to eat'," the robin said.

The firefly did not like the way the robin turned its head to one side and stared at him with a big bright eye. The firefly decided to fly away. He left the ground just as the robin's beak pecked into the spot where the firefly had been sitting. The robin got a beak full of dirt instead of a beak full of firefly.

When the firefly flew back to his bush he saw two young rabbits eating sweet grass. They had very nice, furry faces. The firefly flew over and said to the little rabbits, "Excuse me, but may I ask you two questions?"

"Yes," one of the rabbits said, "but I may as well tell you that we don't know the answers to much of anything."

"Well," said the firefly, keeping a safe distance, "the first question is, do you think I look delicious?"

Both rabbits wrinkled their noses and laughed.

"Not at all!" they answered.

The firefly moved a little closer to the small rabbits.

"The second question is, do you know what I am?"

The young rabbits wiggled their whiskers while they thought about the question.

"I'm pretty sure you're not an alligator," one said. "Your nose isn't long enough and you don’t have wrinkly skin. Or a snake. Definitely not a snake. You aren’t long enough."

"Of course he isn't a snake or an alligator!" the little rabbit’s sister said. "You don't have any idea what he is, and I don't either. Daddy would know. He's very old. He has been alive for a whole year."

"What's a Daddy?" the firefly asked.

The little rabbits laughed again.

"Daddy is our father. Don't you have a father?"

"I don't have anything," the firefly replied. "Can we ask Daddy?"

"Yes, when he comes this way."

"When will that be?" asked the firefly.

"Sometimes he comes out late in the afternoon, and sometimes early in the morning. Just watch for a big brown rabbit and ask him your question."

The firefly sat on his bush and watched for the big rabbit until the sun was low in the sky, but Daddy Rabbit did not come.

The little firefly watched the daylight shrink into an orange ball which sank slowly into the earth. The earth swallowed the orange ball and drank up the light. The grass and trees and water which the firefly had seen around him disappeared with the sun.

Somehow the firefly felt better at night than in the sunshine. Then, as he sat there enjoying the darkness, he discovered something wonderful. Out of his own body came light. He glowed, and then he did not glow, and then he glowed again. He was like a tiny sun throwing light on the leaves around him. It was like breathing. When he pulled air in, the lower part of his body glowed brightly. When he pushed the air out he stopped glowing.

As he turned his light on and off, he felt that he was supposed to fly up into the air. Sometimes he flew as high as the treetops, sometimes low enough for his legs to brush the grass. It felt wonderful to sail above the dark earth. He knew that this was the right thing for him to do – to fly through the air while his body glowed with a flashing light.

But before long the firefly felt that something was missing. What was it? He looked at the ground below, looking for something that he felt should be there. But what?

Then he flew out over the marshy lake for the first time. The water was smooth and still. Looking down, the firefly was so surprised that he almost forgot to keep flying. He saw what he had been missing. Below him on the glassy dark water were many little lights. They were like the light of his own body. He felt very happy.

"I am not alone!" he thought.

He wanted to be with the lights on the lake. He flew down toward them. As he slowed his wings so he could land by one of the lights his legs felt cold. He was in the water! What he had thought were other fireflies became swirls of sparkles. He had broken the lights into tiny pieces when he hit the water.

Frightened, he moved his wings as fast as he could and zoomed above the water just as a big fish with a wide open mouth broke through the surface of the lake and tried to eat him.

The firefly sped once more up into the air, racing to get as far above the lake as he could. He was flying almost straight up when he saw that the dark sky above him was filled with the very same lights that he had seen on the lake. He was seeing the stars in the sky. The water had been like a big mirror which made him believe that the stars were on the lake.

He felt hope again. He thought the lights up in the sky there might be fireflies, like him. He decided to fly up to meet them.

Up and up he went, excited, flying as fast as he could. The lake became a small mirror below him, but still he had not reached the stars. No matter how high he flew he never seemed to get any closer to the lights. He began to wonder if they were really fireflies. They did not flash on and off like he did. Instead they gave off a cold light which never blinked. If they were fireflies, they were not very friendly.

The brave flyer was getting very tired. He began to dip and slip back toward the earth. Finally he had to give up. He had just enough strength to get safely back to the ground, where he fell into a bush and turned off his light and went to sleep.

When he woke up it was even darker than before. He could no longer see the stars because clouds had covered the sky. Wind shook his bed of leaves. Looking out through the trembling bush, the he saw a big light far away in the distance. The light flashed brightly and went out. There was a deep, rumbling sound. Then the light flashed again, and there was another rumbling sound.

To the firefly a flashing light meant one thing -- another firefly. He flew toward the light. Sometimes it would not be there for awhile, and the firefly would worry that it had gone away. Then it would flash again, and the firefly would flash an answer. The wind grew stronger. He could see that the flashes of light were much, much bigger than he was.

Then it began to rain. Big drops of water hit him. They were so heavy that they almost knocked him out of the air, but he kept on flying.

Suddenly there was a flash of light brighter than the daylight. A nearby tree split in half as a great crash of thunder roared through the night.

The firefly had flown into a thunderstorm. When the storm had been far away he had thought that the flashes of lightning were made by fireflies. Now that he was close to the lightning and thunder he knew that nothing so bright and loud could be part of his family.

He was very frightened. He turned and flew away as fast as he could, but the wind blew so hard that he had to hide in thick grass until the rain and lightning finally went away. Then he slowly made his way back to his bush beside the marshy lake where he had been born. There he lay down among the soft leaves and went to sleep.

When the firefly woke up, morning had come and the world was once more bright with sunlight. The dew made everything sparkle. Spider webs which the firefly had not seen before were now glistening with dew. So many spider webs everywhere – in the grass, in bushes, in trees! So many spiders, each in its own web!

"I do not even need to ask if I'm one of those," the firefly thought. "I don't have a web, and I have no idea how to make one."

The firefly looked around for Daddy Rabbit and did not see him.

He heard strange sounds from the marsh and wondered what they were. He drank some water from inside a red flower and listened to the sounds. Sometimes they were so soft that he could hardly hear them. Sometimes the sounds piled up like an ocean wave and made a loud noise that hurt his head. The firefly could tell that the noise came from many small sounds in many different places all around the side of the lake. When all the little sounds were put together, they made one giant sound.

Because the firefly did not know what anything was, how could he know that he was hearing the songs of thousands of frogs? Some sounded like spoons tapping on glass. Some made a sucking noise like a rubber boot being pulled out of wet mud. Some sounded like balloons being rubbed together. Some were like tiny tinkling bells, some like the plucking of stretched rubber bands, and some like the thumping of small drums. Underneath all the other sounds were the croaks of bullfrogs, as deep as big bass horns.

After a long time had passed and the rabbit did not appear, the firefly went to find out what was making the noise in the marsh. Flying low, he saw frogs, frogs, frogs, and more frogs – some big, some little, some with stripes, some with spots, all singing.

"How different from me!" the firefly thought. "There's only one of me, but there are is no end of frogs."

He flew down next to a very large frog which had a very deep voice.

"Good morning," the firefly said to the frog. "I would introduce myself, but I don't have a name. I don't even know what I am."

The frog turned opened his wide mouth and said, "You look like some kind of bug to me."

"Are you a bug?" the firefly asked.

"Of course not! I am a frog." The frog moved closer to the firefly and blinked. "I like bugs, though."

The firefly was glad he had found this friendly frog. He flashed his light.

"Can you light up your tail like this?"

"Of course I can't light up my tail!" the frog croaked. "I haven't even had a tail since I was a tadpole. In all the hundred days of my life I have never heard of anybody lighting up."

"Do you like my light?"

The frog sounded less friendly now.

"Last night I watched you flashing that light all over the place while I sat in the mud the way a normal person is supposed to, and I thought, 'What a show off!' And to make it worse, you fly around like a bird. I don't like birds. Birds eat frogs, you know."

"I don't think I'm a bird," the firefly said , "because you definitely do not look delicious to me. Besides, birds are much bigger than me, and they don't have lights."

"Well," the frog said, " for a bug with such a tiny brain you know a lot, don’t you?"

The firefly decided he did not like this frog, and he said proudly, “My head may be tiny, but my thoughts are just as big as yours."

"Well, know-it-all, I have a surprise for you." The frog slowly moved closer and closer to the firefly, until his wide mouth looked as big as a door. "Here’s something you don’t know. Frogs eat bugs!"

The frog's long tongue suddenly shot out at the firefly, who barely had time to zoom away before it hit him.

"That's the way I catch my food!" the frog laughed in his rough voice. "Come back here, you fire bug, and I'll give you a fast ride on my tongue. A fast ride to my stomach! Ha, ha, ha!"

The firefly was very glad to get away from the big mouthed frog and the loud froggy laugh that followed the firefly up into the air.

After awhile the firefly decided to fly all the way around the lake and see what he could see. He watched schools of fish swimming, and rows of turtles sleeping on logs, and yellow butterflies dancing by the edge of the water, and lines of ants carrying bits of food. Of all the creatures he saw, he was the only one who was alone. That could not be right. Where would he find others like himself?
He spent the whole day flying exploring the countryside, looking everywhere for others like himself, but he found none. He saw squirrels and horses and cows and pigs and sheep and cats and dogs and chickens and goats, but he did not see anything like himself.

At last, when the sun was not far from setting, the little firefly returned to his bush by the lake. There he saw something that made him happy. A large brown rabbit was sitting in the grass not far from the bush. The rabbit had the stem of a yellow flower in his mouth, and as he chewed on the stem the flower moved closer and closer to his mouth until it finally disappeared inside.

"Oh, please," the firefly called from the top of the busy, "are you Daddy Rabbit?"

"Yes, I am."

"I met your children," the firefly said, "and they told me that you are very old and know a lot. Would you answer a question for me?"

"I will be glad to answer if I can," the rabbit said. "But you're so little I can hardly see you."

"I'm just as big as you are, inside," the firefly said.

"What are you?" the rabbit asked.

"That's the question I want to ask you," the firefly said. "What am I?"

"Come over here so I can see you better," the rabbit replied.

The firefly started to leave his bush, then stopped.

"Do I by any chance look delicious to you?”

"Absolutely not!" the rabbit answered. "I think you would taste terrible."

"Good!" said the firefly.

He sailed over and landed right under the rabbit's soft nose.

"See," said the firefly, "I have wings and I light up."

He flew a little way into the air and flashed his light several times.

"Let me think," the rabbit said. He bit off another flower and started chewing his way to the yellow blossom. Then he said, "Yes, yes, I remember very well. It was a long time ago, when I was young, before the cold weather came. There were many like you. I saw them from the time I was born last summer."

"Wonderful!" the firefly cried.

"Oh, yes." The flower wiggled as the rabbit chewed. "They came out at night and flew among the trees and over the grass near the lake, all flashing their lights. There were so many that they looked like the sparks from a great forest fire swirling in the dark sky. Some called them fireflies, some called then lightning bugs. I called them star children. They were beautiful. I was very sorry when the winter came and all of the star children were gone."

"Gone?" the firefly exclaimed.

"Oh, yes, gone. Their lives ended. The lives of many insects ended when winter came. They were here when I was born, but when it was very cold their lives ended. They’ve been gone a long time."

The rabbit looked sad. His ears drooped, but suddenly he looked happy and his ears pointed up again.

"Well, not all gone!" he said. "You are here." Then the rabbit's ears wilted again.

"But you are the last of your kind. The last firefly."

The last firefly.

The words made the little firefly feel sad, but he thanked the rabbit and said, "I am sorry that I'm the last firefly, and all alone, but I'm glad that you could tell me what I am."

"I understand that you must be lonely," the rabbit replied. "You can come and visit me and my family any time."

"Thank you."

The rabbit started to leave, then turned back.

"I am very glad you are here," he told the firefly. "I will be watching for your light in the sky while I lie on my bed tonight.”

"Thank you," the firefly said.

The sun had turned into an orange ball which sank slowly behind the trees. The earth swallowed the orange ball and drank up the light. The rabbit slowly hopped away into the dark shadows of the forest. Night was coming again.

The firefly settled in a leafy bush to watch the golden glow turn into black. Then the stars began to appear – first one, then two, then many, until the sky was filled with twinkling lights.

"The last firefly," he thought. "I am the last firefly. There is nothing else like me except for those stars, and they are not fireflies – unless fireflies go up there when they leave this place."

Then the firefly saw something amazing. He saw one of the stars move. It left the other stars which were low in the night sky and floated through the air above the tall grass by the edge of the lake. The firefly could not believe what he was seeing. Stars did not move.

Then the floating light disappeared.

"Oh, no," the firefly sighed, feeling that he had lost something very important.

But the floating light soon appeared again close to where he had seen it a moment before. Then it disappeared again. Then it came back.

It was like his own light! It glowed, and then it did not glow, and then it glowed again!

The firefly was so excited that he rose slowly up into the air without even realizing that he was flying. Then he suddenly became even more excited because he saw another light moving among the dark trees, and then another. First one, then two, then many, until the air by the lake was as full of softly glowing, floating lights as the sky was filled with stars.

Fireflies! They were fireflies, just like him!

"We are so beautiful!" the firefly thought. He had never been able to think "we" before. If fireflies could sing, he would have been singing with joy.

He flew toward the other lights, and then he saw that they were not only up in the air but also down on the ground in the grass. Here and there, like tiny candles, like coals in a fireplace, they glowed in the grass. Those did not move around like the flying lights. Somehow the firefly knew that they were waiting for something. They were waiting for him.

One of the lights in the grass blinked three times, stopped, and blinked three more times. The firefly flew above it and blinked three times, then blinked three times again. The light in the grass blinked back at him three times, and then the light in the grass and the firefly in the air blinked three times together.

The firefly understood. He flew down to the light in the grass and stood in front of a beautiful female firefly glowing with her message of love.

"I am so happy to see you!" the firefly said. "I was all alone for a long time."

"I am very happy to see you," the female firefly said. "You will never be alone again."

He asked her where she and all the other fireflies had come from.
"We were all born today," she answered. "Except you. You must have been born before the rest of us. You were the very first. Now you can help teach the rest of us."

So, he was not the last firefly. He was the first firefly of the spring. That was much nicer than being the last firefly.

The firefly glowed happily.

The first firefly


© 2006 Fleming Lee

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Feline Philosophy


If you’ve kept up with this blog at all, you know that it focuses on philosophical, spiritual, psychic, and psychological questions, most of which can’t be answered but are important to many people and interesting to speculate about. Things like “What is the ultimate Source or God?”, “What happens when we die?”, “What is the nature of time and our perception of it?”, “What is ‘reality’, and is there more than one reality?”

Questions like that are constantly barging into my mind even if I haven’t invited them. I’ve always had a great thirst to know the ultimate nature of things – not so much how things work, but rather origins, first principles. My mother said that when I was a small child and she was reading to me, I kept interrupting her with, “Why?”

Well, last weekend I suddenly realized, with real surprise, that for once I was not asking those questions, even when I was lying in bed at night or at dawn. It became apparent that my mental processes had changed: Those riddles and speculations had quietly folded their tents and disappeared, leaving me with a strange feeling of lightness and freedom, like a general going to the top of a hill in the morning and finding the opposing army gone.

Why did that happen? (Note that my first reaction to an absence of questions is to ask a question!) After a few hours the answer came: It was due to the furry mite you see in the picture above. The then 6 week old kitten had made my computer room her home since we brought her from her rescuer, and I had been with her there during most of the daylight hours for a week. Her food, litter box, toys, and bed were in my room, to which she was restricted until it seemed safer for her to explore the whole house and meet the big cat.

Naturally she saw the nearest human as her mother, as well as a substitute for her brothers and sisters, and so I was treated to endless antics as well as number of minor puncture wounds on my hands, feet, ankles and legs. She cantered, galloped, bounced across the room sideways, charged things, batted things, chewed things, and displayed her ferocity in rampant poses. Whenever I walked into what had once been my room she would come tottering toward me squeaking loudly, clambering onto my bare foot, demanding to be picked up. If I merely stroked her without lifting her, and sat down in my computer chair, she would try to climb my left leg as if it were a coconut palm. When I winced and removed her, she would get on her hind legs and stretch to grasp my left hand with her front paws and claws and insist on my lifting her on my palm to the level of my chest. I would lean back in my chair, hoping she would decide on a nap beneath my chin.

My chest was not, however, the ultimate goal. From there she launched an exploration of my nose and chin and lips and ears, led by her insistent nose and nibbling teeth. If I forcibly rescued my physiognomy from involuntary plastic surgery, the kitten would add some letters to my email by walking across the keyboard (usually leaving a long trail of xxxxxxx’s or wwwwww’s) which was her pathway to my L-shaped desktop. The big desk offers not only a computer and a printer and a small TV/video/DVD recording area, rich in wires of all kinds, but also a telephone and a couple of headsets, a coffee warmer, a pen container, and a camera . . . all of which were explored and most of which came under attack. Of the larger devices only a headset was knocked to the floor, but Star created a veritable avalanche of video cassettes, CD cases, pens, and post-it pads.

There was no end to the fun, and it really was fun. Except for an occasional brief nap on my chest, her activity never ceased. It was as if the whole Life Force of the universe had arrived in my room in a tiny, blue-eyed concentration of limitless energy. It was pure Source in newly minted physical form, untaught, untamed, uninhibited, completely spontaneous. To say that she was more alive than I, more one with Consciousness and creation, would as much an understatement as to say that fire is livelier than stone.

A line from my children’s story THE LAST FIREFLY came back to me, where the firefly, no bigger than a grain of rice, says to the huge bloated bullfrog, “My head may be tiny, but my thoughts are just as big as yours."

The kitten silently informed me,“My body may be small, but my life is just as big as yours.”

I know that it was somehow because of my absorption in the kitten that the writhing questions about life and consciousness and reality slithered away and freed my head at least for awhile. Beyond that I can’t explain what happened, and I know that I should not try to explain it.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Play Today


Cat and Kitten Begin to Play




Photographs by Julia Lee

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Lovey and Star: Progress!

Since their first meeting. Star and Lovey have been together several times, closely watched, at first in the screened pool area, and then indoors, and each time has been better than the one before. (Most of the pictures are video, but I'll post some still pictures soon.) It's really interesting to watch the different stages in which the big cat and the little cat interact with one another more and more closely over a couple of days.

Initially it was Lovey running away when Star approached him. Next they began staring at one another from a safe distance, and then from closer distances. Next, Lovey walked up to the kitten and sniffed her briefly and she tried doing the same.

Things became more relaxed. Lovey demonstrated that he was casually superior by lying down near Star and pretending to be indifferent. He became more and more likely to walk from a distance to be near Star, while she dared get closer and closer to him, even touching his fur.

The greatest moment came when they cautiously touched noses. Apparently nose touching is very important in cat relationships, because it then happened several times. The whole atmosphere began to improve. The sniffing became, one might say, more intimate, and the cats began accepting one another's presence as more interesting than worrying. They show they're aware of one another but don't make a fuss about it. In fact one of the things that surprises me -- who expected them to devote one hundred percent of their attention to one another -- is that they so often seem genuinely uninterested in one another in spite of the novelty, and go their separate ways.

The latest and most promising phase I would call play: Star began making kittenish advances right up to Lovey's whiskers, tapping him flirtatiously on his cheek before prancing away. She bounced toward and away from him sideways. She batted his tail. She rolled onto her back and waved her legs in the air. Lovey didn't know how to take all of that. He stared and tapped her with his paw gently a couple of times. I think he hasn't figured out how to play with such a small creature. Only once did he become annoyed and hiss and give her a swat that knocked her over . . . but she was right back at him again a minute later.

His supremacy established, Lovey became more accepting, until now he has begun seeking Star out and gingerly initiating interaction. Of course Star is always interested in interaction and play. We're waiting for Lovey to catch up. I think that in another day, maybe even today, they'll be playing together like old pals and Lovey's mourning period will come to an end.

In my last post I mentioned two controversies but neglected to describe the second.

The first was about the kitten's breed appearance; a new vote has been added in favor of Birman over Siamese.

The second was about the kitten's name. Even before we saw her I announced that her name would be "Star". . . as in the sky, not in Hollywood, although both meanings could apply. Julia wanted to expand that with "Sparkle" or "Twinkle", and settled on "Twinkle", and so we had "Twinkle Star". Then we read (right or wrong) that it's traditional for breeders of Birmans to name them starting with the certain letter that applies for a whole year. It seems that this is an "E" year, and so "Excellent", "Exquisite", and "Elegant" were explored, with "Elegant" the winner.

So now she is "Elegant Twinkle Star" . . . which I think is enough names for any cat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Together At Last!

The pictures tell the story. This morning Detective Inspector Lovey met his new companion, Twinkle Star, face to face for the first time. There was a certain amount of caution on each side, and a lot of staring, but almost no hissing.

After about half an hour the pair decided to part company for awhile. The kitten rolled over and fell asleep while Lovey sniffed the deck for a minute and then went lizard hunting. It surprised me how, following their momentous introduction, the six week old and the three year old went their separate ways with almost no transition. Maybe they were playing hard to get.

(Click photos for closeups.)