Saturday, October 01, 2022

Kvelve's Comments: String some lights and enjoy the season

| December 9, 2020 12:00 AM

It would be purely speculation because I have no proof, nor do I really believe it.

However, there are certain things I’ve encountered in my 66-plus years on Mother Earth that lead me to believe it could be. If true, it would explain things in my world.

I’ve long suspected that if we are recycled souls, I may have been a chicken-soup promoting grandma, probably named Sadie, in a past cruise on this rock as it hurtles through space.

Why else, I’ve reasoned, would I be a person who has a tendency toward worry?

Now I propose this hypothesis with tongue so firmly in my cheek it causes my rapidly graying beard to bulge. But then again, it would help explain why a large human being like me really worries about anything.

For some unknown to me reason, I still, at my age, get that butterflies feeling when I know I’m going to go cover a football, basketball, volleyball or any other sporting event.

OMG (I do not like acronyms but this one, although vastly overused, seems appropriate), will I make it there in time? Did I remember to charge my camera batteries, even…did I bring enough pens?

That’s me, usually sitting in empty stands often well before the players even come out for warm-up activities. Counting my pens and double-checking the battery level of my digital camera.

A bowl of chicken soup always sounds good to me.

But I’ve also come to realize that one of those past lives may have been as something non-human. Friends will tell you I have some non-human characteristics.

They are kidding, I hope.

But if it were true, one would hope that past existence as something other than a male human being would be as a lion, master of a large pride of loyal lions, or the lead wolf in the toughest pack in the neighborhood.

Nope, I’m pretty sure if I lived as an animal (although being a bachelor has many similar characteristics), it was in the form of the humble…moth.

Not Mothman, like folks in parts of the eastern part of this country claim to have seen, but a fluttering, light-seeking insect whose only real purpose seems to be to land near a light source.

Maybe one of my distant relatives is among the hordes of moths who congregate around my porch light when I leave it on all night.

Why do I think a moth was in my past?

Christmas lights. Those dazzling pulses of color create in me a desire to circle, stop and stare. The more the better and the closer I can get the better.

It started in a neighborhood just south of where I grew up in Billings. There was a little old lady, who didn’t seem worried about anything so I don’t think we are linked by DNA.

She lived in an otherwise non-descript little house that was surrounded by shrubbery which enclosed a tiny yard filled with porcelain deer, bird bathes and your odd gnome sculpture or two.

Once a year, Christmas to be specific, that otherwise basic small house was transformed into an array of colored lights that attracted a long line of cars, most of which were no doubt driven by former moth people.

Their faces were in awe as they drove slowly past the light-bedecked residence, eyes wide open and moths agape, as if drawn in by some pre-determined genetic code. They had no choice. It was light and it was there.

Reports were that the little old lady had more than 5,000 Christmas lights. Like a salmon returning to spawn it left an imprint on me that continues to this day.

I will most likely never reach my dreamy goal of one day having enough lights to be seen from space. No jets will be scrambled to circle high overhead until one of the pilots muses in a dreamy, almost hypnotic tone that “it’s okay, they are just Christmas lights…it’s OK”.

The last few years, I have not put up anywhere near as many lights as I have in the past. Nothing like opening a January electric bill to curb this primal desire.

But in the space of 24 hours, while duplicating last year’s porch circling lights, I made three trips to Gambles Hardware for another 66 feet of glowing color, a star that grows bigger then smaller, and a basic outdoor Christmas tree.

I would probably, and may well still, add more. But the moth people living in this tiny section of Plains have helped quell my urge to expand. In the span of two houses there are at least hundreds of lights, inflated and illuminated Christmas figures and falling snowflakes.

Hopefully I will not snap out of a trance and find myself trying to hover in place while looking for a way to attach myself to their walls.

Nor will I take flight and “mill” around the awesome display of Christmas illumination at the Sanders County Fairgrounds…I don’t think.

It’s just something very powerful inside me, probably stemming from my attempts to do homework in front of the Christmas tree as a young boy.

I’m counting on these urges being a primal need for brightness, cheer and comfort.

After the year we’ve all just been through, we could all use those three basic items.

I’m not going to worry about it. String some lights and have a bowl of soup.

Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Mineral Independent and Clark Fork Valley Press. Look for his “Kvelve’s Comments” column weekly.

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