Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This is from 2007. I plan to write something new very soon.

Last night I read something about impermanence and I remembered the time when my mother gave me the kaleidoscope. I was about twenty-two and living temporarily in the downstairs bedroom of my mother’s house. It was a surprise when she handed me a brass cylinder in a soft cobalt blue velvet cloth with a drawstring on one end that tied with a white ribbon. I don’t know where Mom got the scope, and it was apparent to me that she had just acquired it, but I never asked her where it came from. It was midsummer and I was drinking too much. I remember one night I lay awake and watched the foxfire-green pulse of a firefly that had gotten into the house. It was flying intermittently around the room the next morning, and when I went off to work I left my mother a note to warn her that it was there, dormant and flareless against the windowpane. For some reason I was afraid she’d think it was a wasp or a bee and kill it. It seemed so fragile to me, so vulnerable, and its tiny folded wings, black with red stripes at the edges, tightened my throat with their smallness.The kaleidoscope held colors darker and less bright than you might expect: slate, oxblood, cleargold, winesong, deep purple, palest winterblue, hard rust. No cerulean, scarlet, or fuchsia, or kellygreen. Reflective tones. Strong, subtle. I can still see them when I hold the kaleidoscope up to lamplight now and they’re as pure as they were then. The blue cloth encasing the scope is musty and the circle at the end that I hold up to my eye has come loose. All it needs is some super glue but I hesitate to fix it. The circle is spotted with rust and I rather like how its tones of sienna and gray fit into the colorscape of the glass at the other end of the tube. When my mother gave me this kaleidoscope, she told me that change was the only constant and to celebrate that. I like having to hold the loose metal ring against my eye when I hold the kaleidoscope up to the light, a scrap of fallenness gently acknowledged but not negated or rejected. A tag of flow and scatter, of attachment come loose and propped lightly against the grooves of its house of glass and metal. 

©Laura Sorrells 2007
all rights reserved


  1. 2000 and who cares. this is beautiful. so important the end is never glued. so important that it wears. so important that we don't know what happened to the firefly. the interlude of the firefly is curious itself, of course substantiated by the colour and movement, and wonderfully illustrative of the curiousness of every transient being.


  2. Beautiful memories... Your concern for the firefly is touching.

  3. thanks, sage. the curiousness of us all, yes, erin.


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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at riverrun67@gmail.com or lksorrells@hotmail.com.