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.


  1. Sounds grand. I would like that too.

  2. I had one as a child; I thought it was the greatest thing ever invented (even though mine was rubbish).

  3. my husband just gave his old one to one of his grandchildren. it was one that he used in his lab when he was a bio researcher. they are totally cool, and I agree that looking into the microscopic world is beyond fabulous!

  4. Yes I had one too.Thank you for pointing out that need to look deeper to search the layers. That is a totally poetic concept especially when it comes to the chambers of a fruit fly's heart. How amazing.