Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I rummaged in the basement until I found the microscope that was a gift to my sons from their grandmother all those many Christmases ago. No easy task, that, being disguised in a box within a box, oddly. Carefully wrapped in plastic, brand-spanking new, almost.


Carried it up to the kitchen table (where it hasn't sat for at least 20 years) and spent a good part of Sunday evening peering single-eyed down the magnifying column at a grasshopper antennae, silk fibers, and penicillin, among other things. 4x, 10x, 40x. Standard-grade elementary school microscope, but it made me nearly delirious with glee. I mean, when was the last time you looked at a fern spore up close?

One of my prized possessions is a jeweler's loupe — indispensable when removing splinters, although viewing one's fingers in that magnification is a bit terrifying. (And you thought your hands were clean....) Yet also valuable when scrutinizing a dead bumblebees fur, or a moth's forewing. Or the veiny underside of a geranium leaf.

The desire, I believe, to look deeper, to see further. When the river runs dry, I want to know what has lurked in the depths. When the tree tumbles earthward in a great wind, I want to see the layers of soil beneath.

I disembedded a microscope from my underground storage — plucked out of what could so easily become rubble — so that I could see into the chambers of a fruit fly's heart.

Life is anything but ordinary.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


It's been a week of tousling winds, and armloads of pink-fluttered branches are on the ground.

Despite the passing sadness of an uprooted tree, there's a thrill in seeing up-close the upper branches in all their lichened-glory, laid out on the grass, all secrets exposed. (And I'm reminded how much I miss climbing trees.)