My son, born under the Hale-Bopp coment, studies the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth and beyond. Based here on the mysterious spark of water and carbon, a chemical reaction perhaps, life. Out there, the telescopes scan the unknown, adding day by day to the reserve of human knowledge. Sending out into the vast Beyond a record of our human life meant to travel beyond our boundaries and limits in search of something more. We hope and dread some acknowledgement of our passing by. Is it not enough to reach out and touch each other?
There is more to learn than a lifetime can teach in the habits of the toads living in the damp recess under the deck with moss and the remains of last year's acorns. I unpry my son's hands to loosen his grip. For a moment the small creature stares up at us, white tipped toes splayed, heartbeat visible through the thin skin, the pouch at its neck inflating and deflating. We stare back, then watch him hop out into his world, our backyard now a toad's universe spiraling out into the woods beyond. We too are small and vulnerable, breathing deep when danger has passed, together amazed at what the day provides.