In parks and gardens on summer afternoons, days light in breeze and bright of sunshine, someone is blowing soap bubbles that waft above grass and flowers. Little children are laughing and shouting, running to splat a bubble, capturing one after another and chasing more, trying to grasp miraculous thinness of water, soap and air.
I remember blowing bubbles and running after them, but I couldn’t capture them. Just once or twice a bubble landed on my hand and I would freeze, half-regretting the small deformation in its perfect sphere, willing it to last longer as it swirled its colours, thinned and broke. I never clapped hands: I could not kill anything so beautiful, even if it wasn’t alive.
Because bubbles are miracles, visible but transparent, unbound by gravity, perfect in shape but infinitely fragile. Because each bubble holds a tiny rainbow, pulling light apart, pulling together barely-glimpsed truths of mathematics and art. Because bubbles are elegant—ethereal, ephemeral—gone.
I blew soap bubbles for my children in their early summers, when air and light and time passed gently and their small feet ran bare through garden grass and clover. I taught them how to take in a bubble with a clap of the hands, to capture it like the prize of the moment and to count their victories by number.
But sometimes they would stand and stare, instead, into beautiful, fragile creations rising slowly higher and away; and I would stand and stare at them, thinking all the same things.
Fiona Jones is a part-time teacher and a parent living in Scotland. Fiona is a 2018 Regular Contributor to Folded Word, and her stories have also appeared on Silver Pen, Bethlehem Roundtable and various other venues.