The Moon, the World, the Dream

MaxresdefaultClifford Thompson at Threepenny Review:

On the one such night that I’m recalling, in the warm months of 1968, when I was five, the insularity of my world suffered a brief, bizarre jolt. My brother, then nineteen, was beside me on the porch and remembers what I remember, which for nearly half a century was all that kept me from thinking of it as a dream.

We were gazing at the full moon. Then, beside it, part of the sky began to change color, as if an invisible dial was spinning and painting as it went around, until at the end of a second there was a perfect white sphere. Where a moment before there had been one moon, we now saw two.

Small children are, for the most part, rational beings, operating in the world based on their feelings but also on what they’ve learned. When children see things they want, they simply grab them, until they are told, and remember, not to. When pleased that things they’ve said have made others laugh, they’ll say them again, soon filing away the lesson that funny lines almost never work a second time. And when confronted with things that go radically against their learned notions of how the world ought to work, children, like adults, become upset, even frightened.

more here.