There comes a time when every small boy discovers how to use a magnifying glass to create fire. If he lives in the Texas Hill Country, where the houses are five miles apart, and a lad has no play mates, he usually finds out through serendipity. This is by far, the finest way to find out about the wonders of the glass and the sun. It is more magical to discover the glory of creating fire all by oneself.
Out in a field somewhere there is a young boy. It is a summer day, bright and sunny, and the boy’s face is moist. Down on his knees, the boy is bent over. He balances his torso, with his lean left arm, pressing it down on the ground. He rests the weight of his torso on his left hand, which is flattened with its fingers splayed out wide; the skin on the top of his palm is red, and his knuckles are white.
His neck and upper body are now arched fully over, and the boy holds the large magnifying lens in his right hand, about four inches above the ground. He is peering through it, his right cheek and eye almost touching the rounded lens. In the shadow cast by his body, he studies the anatomy of twigs, leaves, spear grass and acorns. He is seeing them with never before seen resolution or clarity.
His right eye strains in concentration as it peers through the lens. But his left eye is pressed shut tightly; as if the left eye were an angry child, just after a quarrel with the right eye. In protest, it refuses to look at anything that the right one looks at. Continue reading