I watched the sparkling explosions reflected in my children's eyes, unblinking windows to neural networks mirroring these brilliant external combustions. One child withdraws, retreats, takes cover, continues to peer intently from a distance at the rockets flying. The other child exclaims, strains his whole body forward, and makes every effort to find a way closer to the thick of the launch site. Though the directions seem opposite, I feel from them similar stirrings: to find a means to connect, to understand, to see what is really there.
There is a python at the Louisville Zoo who is the daughter of another python at this zoo. That snake, the mother, has never been near a male, but one day the keepers found ten eggs hiding in her pen. Ten fertilized eggs. Her eggs. Parthenogenesis. The eggs hatched into ten female snakes, one of whom remains the Mother's neighboring occupant. An elderly zookeeper with a brunette perm and thick glasses told me this in a quiet tone as she held another, smaller snake in her hands. It's not too uncommon - there are many things to marvel about, she said, before a fresh flock of children gathered to touch the snake she held.
Most children I have spent enough time around have offered me evidence of clairvoyant tendencies. Some are much stronger cases than others, but the fact that I am always surprised, then doubtful, then aware of my bias against the extraordinary reminds me that, in plain sight, miracles are regularly overlooked. So I look again; I let go, and I let the astonishment catch in my throat, let it make my heart race with questions.
When the sacred terror of death's finality seizes my consciousness, I keenly feel my blood, my skull, my tight chest. I open the eyes of my eyes again, each time with a little less fear, and less certainty, of what there may be to discover.