She laid a dime next to the tiny white snail eggs, laid it right there in the dirt at the bottom of the terrarium. She and her brother had named their snails Harold and Maude, with prompting from their mother who now watches with wonder her daughter’s delicate fringe of lashes, the fall of auburn hair, the small fingers once smaller but still delicate.
“Shall we take a picture?” says the mother, which had been the plan all along, but in the quiet morning with the sun streaming through the window and the tank with the beta fish, the golden pathos stems gracing the water, the stick insect clinging to a shelf beside the cat, it is nice to say the words, to recognize the steps of recording and observation and perspective for others and as a reminder to the self: This is what once was.
The daughter nods and takes the camera from her mother. She looks through the viewer and aims, clicking to capture an image of the tiny eggs in the soil. A butterfly dances by, a tortoiseshell they were housing in the cool of the old fashioned larder. “Quick,” says the daughter, “let’s open a window!” And the mother cranks the window over the fish bowl and they gently coax it to fly through. It flies out over the spring grass peaking through wet dead leaves. It flies through trees, their branches pushing out green buds.
for my friend Jen