"Come on", I called. "I have a most wonderful surprise for you."
"You do," he asked. Forgetting his speech on umb-bwell-uz and mommy needing to be protected beneath his, he ran after me towards the golden lights of the house. Inside I called the other kids around and slowly opened my hand....
They had never seen a newt so small, in fact they had seen very few in their lives. The newts had virtually disappeared in the years my kids had been alive. Spraying for Gypsy Moths and over use of other pesticides had threatened the tiny lives that shared the forest floor. As a child, I had seen the orange newts by the dozens on any given walk through damp woods. That was then, so now it was a huge deal that I had come upon this tiny, fearless creature.
I felt blessed to have him visit us!
I told the kids he was light as a feather brushing my hand. They begged to feel him walk upon their hands and giggled with delight when he did. He looked up at them in a curious manner and they whispered among themselves about newts being friends of fairies and other magic creatures of the woods.
When he had walked the length of tiny hands, we carried him back out into the night and released him at the edge of forest and field beneath a black raspberry bush. The storm clouds danced above the oak trees and hummed through the branches as our tiny orange friend crept deep into the thicket of thorns and found shelter for the night.
"I am worried about him in this night", my eldest said.
"I am not" I told her. "Did you see his little black eyes? He is fearless and brave for such a small bit of life light as a feather".
I waved to the clouds above and told the kids to think about how these were the clouds formed a hemisphere away off the coast of Africa. I told them how they swept across the vast Atlantic, soaking up energy and water to speed thousands of miles across the tropics and finally to smash into the continent and dump their mighty rains onto our green mountains, making our oak trees dance...
...they like to hear things like that normally. Normally, but not tonight! Tonight they are ignoring my lesson and whispering and giggling about the magic of a tiny orange newt, snug beneath a berry bush.