In this picture, Grandpa is lying on his back on a green slope, with his hands behind his head for a pillow and his hat pulled halfway down over his eyes. It’s hard to tell whether he’s dozing or not. It seems that he’s in that blessed peace between a light nap and the calm refreshment of gazing up into the clear sky. A spray of scraggly birch leaves hangs over him from above. The boy, meanwhile, is lost in another kind of contemplation. He’s sitting in front, right next to Grandpa’s side. His straw hat is set back to reveal his whole face. The legs of his patched trousers are rolled almost up to his knees, which are tucked up, while his bare feet – big bony feet, scuffed and dirty with life, brace against the hillside. His she-dog beagle nestles under one of the knees, as she sniffs at one of the three yellow-paper butterflies flitting about. But the boy isn’t thinking of the dog or the butterflies, or even Grandpa. He has a wild daisy in his hand – there are a few of them on the slope – and he’s picking the petals off, one by one. “She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me,” that is evidently what is in his mind, as he looks at the flower, with the slightest trace of a smile on his lips, and his eyebrows raised just a little, in wonder.
more from Anthony Esolen at Front Porch Republic here.