When I was five, the world was round on the bottom, and flat on the top, with a plastic dome to keep people from going off the edge.
I stayed close to home , but started an exploratory hole to China. That attempt didn't get further than the hard pan, but I also explored gravity and travel very briefly, by tying on a towel for a cape and trying to fly off the roof of the Bray's chicken house.
Clara Bray, the chickens, and her parents, whom I don't remember ever seeing, lived up the road on the edge of the village .
One day little Clara wandered into our yard where I was playing, and told me her mom and daddy were not home, and that she knew zactly where her daddy kept his bullets ....... so we could take some out back and splode them.
The box of 30.30 cartridges was on a shelf behind the door at the top of the cellar stairs.
We took a few and went way out back , where we put the cartridges on a rock and threw stones at them.
This experiment also failed, and we wandered on a little further toward the horizon.
We soon came to hedge row where three kids a little older than us were watching a brother and sister; she on her back and he sitting on top, trying to push his limp dinky into her girl thingy..... but there was nothing doing with that experiment either.
Clara went home and I headed back too, but our family friend, the widow Manie Lyons, saw me passing through her back yard, and brought me inside for milk and a cookie, then walked me home.
Mom had thought all that time that I was still out in the garden with my grandfather and the dog.
My grandparents lived next door to our own house, which had been my Great Grandfather's and the location of his medical practice. My mother had been born there.
I didn't understand houses to be built by people, but more like living things which engendered and sheltered humans.
The next year we would move to Ithaca...... a long drive from the center of the world ..... and I didn't imagine we could move without the house . I asked my mother how exactly it would happen, and I was sure for years afterward that she told me a big wind machine would come and blow it the house onto a truck.
I was bitterly disappointed when the day came and we left the house behind.
There had been no preschool or kindergarten in Natural Bridge, so when I entered school for the first time in Ithaca, I was a slow learner in everything with letters or numbers in it.... but when a teacher with a grapefruit and oranges represented the solar system and the motions of the planets, it made better sense to me than the old half-dome model. And not long after, when another teacher used the same fruits to show atoms with orbiting electrons and so on, something in me clicked and I realized that the stuff of the world is the same on the inside, as it is on the outside: a fractal universe, This made perfect sense of gravity and most everything but sex, death, and time.