One autumn Saturday when I was about 10, my father lit the signal fire, a huge pile of leaves he had raked off our still-green St. Augustine lawn. I can see him leaning on the rake, smiling, while black smoke spiraled skyward. Within minutes the neighborhood children had received the invitation in the smoke and had all gathered--some on bicycle and some on foot--around the signal fire in the corner of the alley.
Among them was a little boy about four years old we'd never seen before. His name was Gregory, but his speech was clumsy and Dad and I thought he said "Wagby." So Wagby he became. He was inquisitive. To any explanation Dad gave, he always had another question. It was: "WHY?"
"Mr. D., WHY did you light this fire?"
"To burn the leaves."
"Because I didn't want them on the grass."
"Well, because the yard looks neater without leaves everywhere."
"WHY?" . . .
And eventually the only answer Dad or anyone could give little Wagby was a frustrated BECAUSE!
I think of Wagby whenever I read Christ's words, "like little children." And I identify. I'm by no means a little child, but my middle-aged world is still so full of "WHY?"s.
WHY does an optical image go through a pinhole inverted?
Because light travels in a straight line.
Because it does. Just because.
There's so much room for wonder. So many questions. All of which science proposes to answer, and all which leave one remaining question: