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Thursday, January 10, 2013

star gazing

I spent a long time outside last night.  The sky was so clear and I could see tons of stars.  It felt like I could see every star in the universe.  I love looking at the sky.

At camp, we would often star gaze with the children.  While laying on the grass, I enjoyed to tell them the story of how the stars came to be.

It was long, long ago.  All kinds of animals roamed the earth.  This was before people were even here.  It was sunny all the time, and animals played, sang and danced in the sunshine.  Life was good and they enjoyed the sun all day, everyday.  Night never existed back in those days.

Then, one day, the animals started to bicker.  It was just a little bit at first, but it quickly grew.  The animals became jealous of each other and could often be heard calling each other names.  The elephants told the squirrels they were better, because of their size.  The fish told the birds they were better because they could swim anywhere they wanted.  The earth was no longer pleasant.  The animals were so mean to each other.

Mother Earth was displeased.  She tried to talk to the animals.  She tried to make each one of them see that they were valued on the earth.  It would work, for a little while, but soon, the animals would start fighting again.  She didn't know what to do.

One day, the name calling and fighting was especially bad and she was very frustrated with all the animals.  She took a big blanket and threw it over the earth in complete frustration with the fighting.

The animals were shocked!  They never saw darkness and all of a sudden, everything was black.  They called out to Mother Earth, "oh please, make this darkness go away!  We want the warm sun back!"

After a while, Mother Earth thought they learned their lesson.  She told them she would take the blanket away, but they could not fight anymore.

The animals promised to get along.  That promise was soon broken, as they went back to their old, angry ways.  Teasing, name calling, meanness and arguing were common place again.

Mother Earth got so upset, she put the blanket back and refused to remove it.  If that was how they wanted to behave, then she felt they could live in the dark forever.  

The animals begged and called to her to remove the blanket.  She ignored their pleas.  She refused to remove the blanket.

After a long time of darkness, the animals figured out Mother Earth was not going to remove the blanket.  They did not like the darkness though.  They started talking to each other to try and figure out how to get the blanket off.

The giraffes were the first to try.  They stretched out their long necks as far as they could, and tried to grab the blanket.  But, they were not tall enough.

Next, the squirrels tried.  They climbed to the very top of the tallest tree there was.  They took a leap, hoping to grab the blanket!  But, they were not tall enough.

Finally, the birds tried.  They thought they could fly way up high to the blanket and yank it down.  But, even they could not reach the blanket.  

All the animals thought it was hopeless.  They kept talking and trying to figure out how to get that blanket off.  None of them was able to get to it.

Then, they had an excellent idea.  No animal could do it on their own.  But maybe, if the animals all tried together, maybe they could do it.

They started with the biggest animals.  Elephants stood strong and proud.  On top of them, the horses stood.  On top of them, the donkeys stood.  And so their tower continued.  Animals sitting on top of other animals until they were taller than even the tallest tree.  

The birds finally crawled up to the top.  They stood there, higher than they had even flown earlier.  They took a deep breath and soared off into the skies.  They got close, very close to the blanket.  Their beaks poked through, leaving holes in the blanket, but they could not bring it down.

The whole tower of animals toppled over.  The animals were frustrated, but they thought they might be able to do it.  They built their tower again, this time with each animal standing a little taller and prouder than the first time.  The birds climbed their way to the top, then took flight, aiming for that blanket.

Again, their beaks poked though, but they could not pull the blanket off.  The tower toppled again.

The animals felt they were so close, they sure if they tried one more time, they will see success.  Each animals helped the others to be just a little bit taller.  This time, the dogs stood on just their hind legs.  The giraffes held their necks as tall and straight as they could.

The birds climbed up to the top.  They took off, soaring higher than they had ever been before.  And yet, still not enough.  Their little beaks poked more holes into the blanket, but no matter how hard they tried, they could not get the blanket down.  All the animals collapsed onto the grass in exhaustion.

Mother Earth had been watching all of this.  She was very proud of the animals and how hard they worked together.  They were not fighting, but helping each other every step of the way.  She came to talk to them.

"My friends.  I've been watching you.  I saw how well you all worked together.  There was happiness once again on the Earth while you helped each other.  I am very proud of you.  I am going to take the blanket away, because I saw how well you could behave with each other.  But, I am afraid you will soon start fighting again.  Each day, I will give you plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine.  At night, though, I will put the blanket back, to remind you that you should always help each other and work hard to take care of each other."

And the stars you see at night?  Those are the holes that the bird's beaks made when they tried to take the blanket off themselves.  As you look at the stars, remember to help others and work hard to take care of others.

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