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by Edward F. Petersen
Mom has put me to bed, but I’m not tired. So instead of sleeping, I sit here on this windowsill and stare out through the screen into a starry summer night.
Some kids are afraid of the dark. Not me. I love the nighttime, that moon, those stars, this quiet.
When I look out upon the day, I’m only a boy, regular and small. But when nighttime opens up like a curtain outside my window, it seems like the world is putting on a play just for me. I feel special, and even though I’m stuck on this windowsill, something magic grows and grows inside me until I pop through the bright bubble of the regular daylight world and fill up the whole, special, dark place that I call “Inawindaland.”
In Inawindaland, all the daytime things have changed. The blinking light on top of the far-off water tower turns into one red eye watching over everything. Can you see it out there winking in the sky? The houses and garages, the swing sets and the cars give up their bright daylight colors and melt into the soft gray moonlight. Look how they’ve almost disappeared.
I don’t know what happens to all the people in Inawindaland. They vanish too, but I’m not lonely. This whole world seems like it’s alive. I can almost feel its heart beating as clearly as I can feel my own. And then there are the trees, that maple in Mr. Enz’s yard, the peach tree over there by our garage and the dogwood right outside this window. I hardly notice them during the day, but in Inawindaland they become like friends. We share secrets about the troubles that can shine down upon trees and kids when the world is regular and bright. And we whisper our thanks to the moon when those troubles seem to fade away with the last purple stripes of the sunset.
Listen to the music of Inawindaland. Can you hear those crickets chirping in the grass, the gentle rustling of the leaves, and that low quivering song of some lonely far-off bird? Isn’t it funny how some music sounds so beautiful just because it can make everything seem even more quiet than if there wasn’t any sound at all?
Breathe deep! Breathe Inawindaland deep down inside you. Don’t worry, the fireflies tickle, but they don’t burn. Isn’t the smell of flowers so strong that it makes your hair tingle? Most flowers close up at night. Maybe they need to sleep, or maybe they’re afraid of the dark. But some magic flowers open in the moonlight. And even though their stems and petals stay planted in the garden, something inside them spreads out wider and wider until all of Inawindaland is filled to the farthest star with the sweet, sweet smell of flowers.
Speaking of stars, look at all of them! I close my eyes and imagine myself flying higher and higher until I’m up there in the sky with them. And I keep going higher until all those stars are just a tiny ball of sparkles way down below. And I still keep flying up an up until . . . Wait!
What’s that other wonderful smell! Ah, that’s Gertrude, my next door neighbor baking butter cookies. She bakes at night sometimes. She’ll bring some over for me to try tomorrow when I’m just a boy again, regular and small.
She always does. They’re delicious!
Angela's Wings Copyright © Edward F. Petersen 2014
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