What the Sky Learned (a children’s story for Big Kids, too!)

The sky was happy, very happy.

“How wonderful to be my lovely, bright blue self!” thought the sky, and did a somersault of joy in its vast depths.

The sky loved many things about its life. It loved the way the trees waved their branches and danced, their green leaves harmonizing with its blue.

“We go so well together!” the sky whispered to the trees.

“Yesssss, yesssss,” rustled the trees’ leaves in reply.

Some of the mountains also wore green, and thrust themselves high into the sky’s blue. Others did the same thing in bold, rocky grays. The sky adored them both. And it cherished the birds who gracefully wheeled and flapped and banked upon its currents, and the clouds that floated through it like so many different shapes blown from some giant bubble pipe.

The sky also loved the majestic sun who climbed tirelessly to its height and then slid slowly downward till it disappeared, day after day. The moon was yet another dear, dancing with the darling stars at night when the sky changed colors like a chameleon from bright blue to inky blue-black.

The sky knew there was an earth, as well, but when asked about that would always say, “The earth’s beneath me.” That was the sky’s little joke.

But as time, endless time, went on, the sky began to grow curious about the earth. After all, not only were trees and mountains reaching into the sky these days. Tall buildings were, too. Not only did the birds ply her airways. Every day hundreds of planes did, as well.

One day the sky’s curiosity reached its limit. The sky put on a cloak of invisibility and climbed down a tall tree to have a look around!

The sky journeyed as a breeze, free to explore anywhere its fancy took it. It found green fields and golden fields, forests and deserts and rivers, and oceans that looked as blue as sky itself. It found great cities with scores of buildings reaching toward the heavens.

The sky found much joy in these cities. They contained lovely parks full of squirrels and birds and, often, picnicking families. The cities also had pretty neighborhoods with lovely homes that sported wide lawns and lush gardens. But cities contained much sadness, too. The sky found people who did not have nice homes, in fact who had no homes at all. It found hungry people looking for food in alleys.

Some cities almost never saw bright blue above them because of great factories that coughed huge clouds of smoke into the air. Scarier still were ones where people fired off guns and bombs that turned the sky itself the color of fire!

After seeing such cities, the sky felt very sad, so sad that it did not feel like turning bright blue ever again.

“I think I’ll just stay a dull gray now,” thought the sky, “Even after I take off this invisibility cloak. “Gray is more in keeping with how I feel.”

The sky began blowing sorrowfully up and down streets, with no idea where it was going. Finally one of the streets dead-ended at a school and playground in a quiet neighborhood. In fact, the only sound the sky could hear was a kind of wheezing.

The sky looked around and saw a little girl standing alone and crying in the middle of the playground. One of her hands held a string. Near her feet a colorful kite lay unmoving.

“There, there,” said the sky, blowing through her hair and whispering in her ear. “I can help you.”

“There are many things I do not know how to do,” the sky continued. “I do not know how to shelter everyone in good homes or feed hungry people. I do not know how to make the air clean or make armies of men stop fighting.”

“But there are some things I do know how to do,” it said, and the little girl, hearing, stopped crying.

The sky began to blow underneath the kite. The kite jumped up off the ground and then came back down.

The little girl began to run with the kite string, and the kite rose once more. Soon it was flying high. Its bright colors and tail of white rags dazzled the sky.

The little girl was running along, laughing now. The sky felt its own joy rising, so much that it couldn’t contain itself any longer. It climbed back up the tree, threw off its disguise, and leaped back into the heavens to resume its former vast, blue expanse.

“There may be terrible things on earth,” thought the sky. “But if I can make a little girl happy, then there is plenty of reason for being a joyful bright blue and staying at my cheerful station!” And the sky, feeling all the atoms of its own being dancing in happiness, turned another great, laughing somersault.

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