Let There be Light!
My fancies are fireflies, —
Specks of living light
twinkling in the dark.
In the depth of despair, can you see the ray of hope; Amidst the tumultuous sea, can you admire the still island; In the heart of dark-ness, can you see the twinkle of a small glowing light?
Somehow the fireflies remind you of the Biblical allusion - In the beginning there was only darkness. Then God said - “Let there be light!” and there were these tiny creatures with small lanterns.
In today’s world, pollution seems to be the catch word. However, light pollution is probably the one least talked about. There is so much neon light everywhere that there is no place for darkness. We seem to forget that this world exists in dichotomies. Without darkness, we cannot appreciate light. Consequently, the stars seem dimmer and further away.
It was at Second Chance, Selim Hill, on one of our nightly walks, that these miraculous creatures, the fireflies, visited us and re-introduced themselves to us. It was almost as if an unforgotten memory had floated to the surface.
Away from the glamour and glimmer of the city, the dark night soothes the soul. The delicate light of these beetles as they look for their mates communicating with flashes of light for flashes of love create patterns and stories of bio-luminescence. This dance is very different from the one seen in nightclubs, it does not reek of false promises and broken hearts. The hide and seek of the fireflies is, definitely not, the cloaks and daggers saga that you oft see in dimly lit restaurants.
How should I describe the experience of seeing a firefly? It is similar to being tickled. Anyone who comes to Darjeeling, comes with the hope of seeing the Kanchenjunga in all its whitewashed glory. To me, the golden light of the firefly reminds you of warm fireplaces and hot cups of fragrant tea.
Sadly like wisdom, tolerance, sharing, physical labour.....fireflies are also slowly becoming extinct. To save them, we need to remember to put out lights, pour less cement into the earth and avoid the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Very proudly, I write that at Selim Hill, these miracles of nature are safe and in abundance as we endeavour to keep this Darjeeling Tea garden organic and viable. It brings to mind an ancient sanskrit verse -
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
Lead us from the unreal to the real
Lead us from darkness to light
Lead us from death to immortality
Aum peace, peace, peace!