Monday, March 05, 2007

Eryn's Telescope

Another kids' story. I know...where are the stories for adults? I have a notebook full of science fiction and horror stories, I just haven't pushed them into the computer yet. I'm a little slow to do the typing because I know just how much I'm going to modify it during the entry process. So instead, you get things I know don't need a ton of rewrite and that I can get double duty out of because I can read them to Eryn for bedtime.

Eryn's Telescope

On Christmas Day, Eryn ran downstairs from her room and dug through the stocking her parents had pinned to the fireplace mantle, looking for candy. While she found an assortment of chocolates, candy canes and nuts, she also found a small box full of plastic stars. She turned it over in her hands, watching the stars fall against the inside of the box.

“I think they’re for your room,” said her father, walking down the stairs in his housecoat. “If you stick them to your ceiling and let them sit in the light for a while, they’ll glow in the dark.”

Eryn’s eyes lit up and she rushed back upstairs to where she’d just been dreaming of ribbon-wrapped boxes and noisy toys and dumped the stars in a little pile on her bed. Mixed in with the stars was a block of putty for sticking them to the ceiling. So Eryn crawled up on her bed and tried to stick a star on her ceiling. But she couldn’t reach. Being three had its drawbacks. She looked at the ceiling for a while, feeling sad, and then looked at the wall. What was a wall, she thought, if not a ceiling on its side. And she could reach the wall. At least she could reach the parts that weren’t that high off the ground. So she stuck a star to the wall, and then another, and another, until there were a few dozen stars on the wall.

In the meantime, her dad had come upstairs and was watching her from the doorway. “That’s a good job, honey. Would you like some help putting some on the ceiling?”

“Sure, Dad,” Eryn stretched her arms upward as high as she could.

Her dad grabbed her under the arms and lifted her up until she was close to the bumpy white ceiling.

Eryn stuck a star between a few bumps. And then another. “Down, please!” she asked. Dad set her down on the bed and she quickly put putty on the back of a few more stars. “Up, please!” And up went Eryn, and up went two more stars. This continued until her dad was puffing a little and almost all the stars in the box were gone. There were stars all over the ceiling, all over the walls, and all over one or two other things, like the closet doors and the book shelves.

“Want to see them with the lights out, Eryn?” asked her dad.

Eryn thought about that for a moment, torn between seeing all the stars glowing and her new presents under the tree. “No,” she declared. “Tonight. When it’s dark.” And she ran back downstairs to look at her new things.

One of the presents Eryn received for Christmas was a new telescope. It was a black and yellow telescope with a three-legged stand – a tripod, Eryn’s mother called it – and three different lenses. One lens pointed up, so you looked down into it. The other two lenses pointed forward, just like the telescope itself. Eryn’s dad said the different lenses were for making the telescope look closer or further, because sometimes things were not so far away, like the trees behind the house, or the neighbor’s playset. But sometimes things were very far away, like clouds, stars, and planets. Eryn thought airplanes were also far away, and her dad told her that sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t, and that when they weren’t, they moved too fast to watch with the telescope.

That night, Eryn’s mother took Eryn outside and set up the telescope so they could look at the stars. She said it was best when it was very dark outside, so it was a good night for watching stars because the moon was only a crescent. Dad said, “A croissant moon?”

Mom replied, “No. A croissant is like a French donut. You eat it with breakfast. A crescent is when you can only see a part of the moon, not the whole thing.” And she pointed up where only a part of the moon glowed brightly, but not so bright that it was hard to see the stars.

“I can see stars over our house!” exclaimed Eryn. “And a shooting star!”

“That’s an airplane, honey,” said Eryn’s dad.

“Well, it’s shooting,” insisted Eryn.

“Yes it is,” laughed Dad.

Sandy, Eryn’s dog, wanted to help look at the stars. She sat on the porch, near the chair and table, and wondered when they would get around to looking at the dog star, Sirius, which was in Canis Major. That was Sandy’s favorite group of stars, because it was like a big dog in the sky. Sandy liked to imagine that she was in the sky, chasing all those other stars that looked like birds and cats.

Eryn’s mother pointed the telescope at a bunch of stars in the sky and pointed them out to her, showing her how they twinkled and sparkled. Through the telescope they looked like shiny holiday lights decorating the sky. Without the telescope, they looked like a man with a bow and arrow and a belt. Eryn’s mother said that was because that constellation was Orion, the hunter. A constellation, she said, was a bunch of stars next to each other that looked like something: a man, a swan, a fish, a dog, or even a house. She showed Eryn where Orion’s belt held up his pants, because if he had to hold them up with his hands, then he couldn’t hold his bow and arrow.

After a while, everyone started to get cold and they picked up the telescope and went inside to sit by the fireplace. Eryn thought about the crescent moon and all the stars she had seen.

She thought about the groups of stars that looked like things, the constellations. Like scorpions and crabs and cups and lounging ladies. And she thought about the stars that were so far away and the trees that were not and the airplanes that sometimes were and sometimes were not.

And then she remembered something funny and she ran upstairs to get ready for bed. Mom and Dad came up to tuck her in and asked her why she had such a big smile, a smile so big they could see it in the dark, just by the light from the open door. Eryn snuggled up under her covers and pointed her favorite flashlight at the ceiling where the plastic stars she had glued up glowed in the dark. “Not all stars are far away, Daddy.” She hid the flashlight back under the covers.

“I guess they’re not,” said Eryn’s dad, looking at all the stars she had glued around her room. “Some are very close.”

“But there are still constellations,” Eryn added, pointing to one area of her ceiling. “See that spot? It looks like you and me and Mommy.”

“Why so it does,” said her dad. “So it does.”

“I’m going to call it The Family,” Eryn declared, kissing her parents good night. And with that, she asked them to close the door so that she could watch the stars, now and then, when their light waned, making them glow brighter with her flashlight. She watched them until the flashlight fell out of her hand and she dozed off comfortably under her stars that were under the real stars in the crescent moon sky.

1 comment:

PTW said...

Eryn's going to love this! I especially like the last paragraph - nice writing :)