The Fireflies are Here

Last night, for the first time in all the years I’ve lived on this farm, I saw fireflies already in the trees. In April. I never knew they came this early. Only one, then another, then not another. I thought it was a star through the clouds but it was a firefly rising. 

Then this morning, the rain was so soft it made me fall out of bed and out the laundry room door, my favorite door sometimes, to the madly greened grass barefooted to the apple trees shot through and heavy with white flowers and wet bees, the dog and I stupid with sleep and joy. Then coffee and back to bed, to not meditate, so bad at that, but to read instead this wonderful book I found at Graceworks called ‘The Kindness Of Strangers,’ a collection of short stories or essays about travel published years ago by Lonely Planet, perfect for what is coming. 

I’m going far away for a memorial.

He was the English someone important during the Australian John Denver tour that was the ABC special I was on. He and his wife were coming to live in LA, and we became friends immediately. I introduced him to all my friends when they got there. He invited me to his dinner parties for every incredible British talent that came to work on movies and music, the legendary actors, producers, directors, and musicians. I was the quiet one at the table, surrounded by glory two or three times a month. It made up for everything I didn’t have. So much I didn’t have.

The grand past I left 35 years ago for this absurdly improbably grand rural present is being stitched back together, beginning with emails full of plans: the gathering at Boodles, then Cornwall with the friend who will be on her way to Marrakesh to see how the repairs to her house are going (!), then Wales for a weekend with my once-dearest friend who is a fine novelist, mostly books set in India, then home. 

I know we don’t look anything like we did 40 + years ago. A child or two has changed our bodies, our skin wrinkled or spotty or both, brains even more wonky now than in the days of wine and roses and fame, our knees and feet unreliable. 

Still, the missing continuity will be restored because these few old darlings have not forgotten what mattered and that it still matters, how to be an artist, how to be kind, how to see things for the first time again and again, and give that life, that vision to the sad world. 

Also a bed, quiet rooms full of books and flowers, a gathering of true-hearted souls in the name of a friend who has passed on, a landscape, a place at the table.

His table taught me how to make the one I have here at my old farm. What is it you can and cannot eat? I will cook it for you, and you will meet people who may become friends who will last you the rest of your lives, and you will drink from the waters of laughter and deep listening and understanding, and you will go home and not be lonely. I promise you. 

I was taught well.


  • Renee Armand

    Singer, songwriter, and poet Renee Armand, born in Los Angeles, was discovered by Tony Bennett in her twenties and now lives on a 19th-century working farm outside Nashville. She spent years touring the world with John Denver, has released four albums, and sang the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After."

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