September 18 – moment beyond words

moment beyond words
Grand daughter and James Thurber
being read to me

After saying it was a moment beyond words, I am going to try and put my feelings into words.

Very inadequate words.

I asked my Grand Daughter if she wanted a story before bedtime and I picked up my copy of Thurber Carnival and found the fable, The Moth and Star.

Azaria said she would like a story but she grabbed the book and read to me.

My first grade grand daughter, working her way through James Thurber, sounding out the words like ‘impressionable’ and ‘singed’. pausing to look up to me for the occasional definition, was such stuff as dreams are made from.

My hope for the today is that everyone, anyone should have such a moment in their life.

The Moth and the Star

A young and impressionable moth once set his heart on a certain star. He told his mother about this and she counseled him to set his heart on a bridge lamp instead. “Stars aren’t the thing to hang around,” she said; “lamps are the thing to hang around.” “You get somewhere that way,” said the moth’s father. “You don’t get anywhere chasing stars.” But the moth would not heed the words of either parent. Every evening at dusk when the star came out he would start flying toward it and every morning at dawn he would crawl back home worn out with his vain endeavor. One day his father said to him, “You haven’t burned a wing in months, boy, and it looks to me as if you were never going to. All your brothers have been badly burned flying around street lamps and all your sisters have been terribly singed flying around house lamps. Come on, now, get out of here and get yourself scorched! A big strapping moth like you without a mark on him!”

The moth left his father’s house, but he would not fly around street lamps and he would not fly around house lamps. He went right on trying to reach the star, which was four and one-third light years, or twenty-five trillion miles, away. The moth thought it was just caught up in the top branches of an elm. He never did reach the star, but he went right on trying, night after night, and when he was a very, very old moth he began to think that he really had reached the star and he went around saying so. This gave him a deep and lasting pleasure, and he lived to a great old age. His parents and his brothers and his sisters had all been burned to death when they were quite young.

Moral: Who flies afar from the sphere of our sorrow is here today and here tomorrow.

from Further fables for our time by James Thurber, New York : Simon and Schuster, 1956.

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