Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Truths

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.   

No comments: