A friend’s child came to play at our house recently. I forgot to put away a box containing our fragile Easter glitter globe. It had been on the landing since May, waiting patiently for an open hand to give it a lift upstairs, back to the attic box marked “Seasonal.” My kids don’t notice the constant piles on the stairs anymore, but this child was Meriwether Lewis on the unexplored frontier. She rifled through the heap of library books and pajamas and couldn’t resist opening the mysterious teal box. I was just steps away on the screeened porch, retrieving lunch dishes. “Mom,” my son called from inside. “Something broke.”
No one was hurt. The children were on the landing, old enough now to respect the danger of broken glass. “Sorry,” our visitor said. “It’s all right, these things happen.” For all my maternal shortcomings, I have the strength of being relaxed when things spill or shatter. Two sets of eyes blinked through the balusters while I brushed curved chards into the dustpan. The globe’s glitter and glycerin made our floorboards sparkle like new again.
I thought about keeping the Easter globe. The music box in the base still worked. The bunnies looked shaken by their ordeal and I wanted to spare them from another. I tried to free the broken glass from the perimeter of the base and cut myself. After a few photographs, I set the globe gently atop the kitchen trash.
Later I looked at the images of the bunnies, sitting innocently in the midst of destruction. It’s funny what the mind links together. I recalled a photograph taken of the Daniel Boone statue in Louisville’s Cherokee Park on April 4, 1974. It was the day after a massive tornado destroyed swaths of the city. The tip of Boone’s rifle was barely discernible in a sea of splintered trees. I was five years old–barely older than my son is now. We lived just a few miles from the park but suffered no harm. For years after the tornado I poured over a book of photographs that documented its ravages, including the one of Daniel Boone. In another image, someone had spray-painted on the side of his destroyed home, “Chicken Little was Right.”