Entrusted with his grandmother's "mying glass," Tyler is off on a rapturous series of adventures. He has learned respect for the wonderful hand lens, usually kept atop a pile of books on a shelf beyond his reach. Ever since his brother, experimenting dangerously, set fire to the hammock, neither child is allowed to use it without supervision. Tyler, alone with us this day, is puffed with pride, having "arrived" at the threshold of our confidence. He is now well aware of the power in the thick curved glass. Properly angled, it can command as needle of sunlight to burn a hole in canvas -- also "bite" into brave flesh.
He'd watched a worm wriggle away in the garden earlier and curiously examined it. "How does he move so fast?" he wanted to know. "Oh, he has little, invisible legs," I carelessly answered.
He challenged that: "Where?"
I pointed to segments, and tried to drop the subject. But Tyler was not to be sidetracked. "If we get the my-ing glass, Gocky, maybe they'll be vis-ble?"
I studied the immediate specimen more carefully, and doubted it. But -- surely somewhere I'd read -- Tyler's creed is Take Nothing for Granted.m Out came the coveted magnifying glass. And we agreed, yes: worms do have legs of a sort -- at one end. The progress-end? Well, that depends. Worms seem to be able to go in either direction. They can cling, or slide off your finger with amazing speed. And should one accidentally break? With all those auxiliary hearts and organs, we concluded, regeneration's a cinch. As for legs per se: "Would you settle for a caterpillar, Ty?"
He would. So long as we moved on with the magic glass.
Did I ever before discern the fine veins in the petal of a blue violet? The multiple flowers in one common head of dandelion? (All that fragrance, beauty, life and hope projected for a single day, before night turns its gold to white floss, and the next day's breeze scatters its seed!) We examined a single floret of a tiny lavender blossom of ground ivy. (Now tell Tyler and me, who looked at that under a magnifying glass, that there are no more worlds left to conquer!)
Such awe we experienced together, this child and his doting grandmother: could it ever be wasted? What horizons expanded, what vistas spread into infinity? A sere leaf --we pored over it through the concentrated glass eye and skirted the intricacies of completion and renaissance. We gazed raptly into the heart of a scarlet maple bud. It was like seeing God in a fiery bush. The message was the same: "The ground is holy."
Ty took off his little green sneakers and curled his toes in compost. Meanwhile he stalked the garden like a journeyman Sherlock Holmes. His sweaty fist cluthced the black handel of the "my-ing glass" as he turned over stones and broke up clods and taught me -- stoically (?) gardening -- volumes about the mysteries of the universe and the miracles contained therei n.