AT dinner last night, we were served for dessert a plate of fresh fruit. A peach, scattered with a handful of raspberries and gooseberries on a fig leaf. As I ate, I had a sudden recollection of eating gooseberries off the bush when we lived in Centerville, Utah. My brother Lawrence was still a babe in arms, so this was likely the Summer of 1950. I enjoyed foraging with my beloved younger sister Lisa among surrounding greenery and sought out the tart, translucent, pale green fruit not only for its exotic taste, but because each gooseberry looked to me like a tiny full moon.
"A tiny full moon?" I thought with a flash of realization, as I popped another gooseberry into my mouth. "What did my child-self mean by this observation?"
What it means is, that as a small child, five years old and younger, I regularly saw with my naked eye lunar features, such as the crater Tycho and its dramatic ray structure, as well as other lunar markings, with telescopic clarity. Like anything else that is perfectly evident, I expect I thought everyone enjoyed the identical experience. I doubt that I saw reason to mention my observation, and the only clue was my opaque correlation between the terrestrial berry and the celestial orb. As I grew older, my eye's resolution deteriorated, my cornea yellowed with exposure to ultra-violet, and what I had seen was obscured and forgotten, until one evening I ate a gooseberry. What marvels did we perceive when we were young, that we have since lost through age and wisdom? What gooseberries await us all, to usher in strange, wondering childhood recollections?
(September 6, 1997)
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