Tools

My pencil holder has a lot more than pencils in it. Pencils are for math and field notebooks with waterproof paper. I use pens and markers for coloring in figures and drawing arrows and clouds around diagrams. I have other tools.

The handle of the magnifying glass is wood. Most of the paint was worn away by the generations of hands before me.  The woodgrain is smooth and shinier than the paint that’s left.  When I pick it up, it always feels warm.

If you unscrew the handle, the metal frame pops apart enough to pull the glass lens free. This was a thrill as a kid, to hold the heavy glass in both hands. I don’t remember a time I didn’t know to hold a lens around the edges.  If you lift it to your eye that way, the world looks huge and distorted as it curves around with your peripheral vision. Out of its frame, the glass shows wavy shapes just past where you can focus. When you drop it from your eye, you can’t see them anymore.

When you put the lens back in its frame and hold the worn handle, the world is large and walled in.  Sensible things are magnified and nothing more.

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