Special Effects

He races through the small patch of green at the edge of the cul de sac. Under his feet, the grass grows wild. The knot of stalks reaches his shins. Suddenly, a blur of motion bursts out around him like an electron cloud. His feet meet earth, setting off one explosion after another. A whisper of wings and rain catches the air, following him through the brush. He neither sees nor hears, swimming just below the surface of this quiet cacophony of sound and motion.
“What is that?” I ask, pointing. He stops, and as he does, the grass falls silent. He looks sideways at me through the stillness. Then he is off running again, bursts of confetti meeting his footfalls.
“Look!” I call. He stops again. All is still, all is silent.
“What?” These interruptions are seriously inhibiting his pleasure. And anyway, there is nothing to see. Controlling a phenomenon enough to observe it renders it unobservable, as Heisenberg tried to explain.
“Watch,” I say. I stride up next to Bug and stomp my foot. The weeds send up an inverted shower of tiny, living things. Bug’s eyes pop open. Then a grin spreads lights him up from within. He lifts his foot and stomps. Another shower, followed by the tinkling of tinsel rain on a forest canopy. For an instant, I wonder if these airborne, pinging things are midget grasshoppers or buff-winged moths.
I crouch for a better look. The weeds are slender, dark green stems with tresses of gold radiating out in all directions. Because of the yellow dusting atop the bending plants, the clearing appears as an infant wheat field. The tendrils are thin, cleaved nests. Each is a floral ovary clutching an egg in a loose grip, readying itself to take a shot at starting next season’s crop.
Next to me, Bug is stomping, giggling hard at each detonation. I bite my tongue and keep my observations to myself. Does knowing what things are really teach us what they are?
Then he is off and running, his face pink and his arms wide. His gaze is back, down, up, everywhere. His voice cries out the high notes. He is the bandleader now of this moving parade, and all around him, one explosion after another announces to the world the arrival of this force of nature, this human animal.  His weight is enough to set loose a surge of animate fireworks right here on earth. The simple presence of him sends life skyward to seek a brand new start in an unturned corner of the world.


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