"Daddy, where do the stars go when the sun comes out in the morning?" Felicity gazed into her father's soft blue eyes. They sparkled like the points of light that beckoned to come out and play at night.
She remembered back before she saw her first starlit sky, when clouds roamed the heavens every night. Felicity would watch from her window after supper as the clouds rumbled in, rolling over each other. They whispered about the secret they hurried to hide. They breathed their stories to the trees, causing the branches to laugh in waves of delight. They teased the pansies until they hid their faces in the green velvet cloaks that surrounded them as they lay in their beds.
All the birds quieted their song till only an occasional trill could be heard. The twilight changed the countryside to a wonderland of shadows. The animals that explored the night world started their games of hide and go seek with the animals that prepared to rest after a long day's adventure with their world.
Felicity watched from her seat beneath the window in her room. She fastened the curtains back over the hooks on both sides so that she would have a clear view of the backyard, where all the activity was taking place.
Skeeter, the tiny mouse, peeked out from under the leaf that covered the entrance to his home. He looked up at Felicity and winked, saying in his silence, "Greetings little miss. You are looking quite fit and happy this evening." He wiggled his whiskers, and Felicity giggled.
"Well, I'll be on my way," he said. "Lots of ground to cover this night. Lots of hungry mouths to feed." He looked one way, and then the other, making sure the coast was clear before scurrying forth in his search for all the delectable tidbits he could find. Skeeter always returned to his family just before the sun began to shine it's light on a brand new day. His pockets and cheeks bulged with enough food to satisfy even his oldest son, Oscar's, appetite, which was very big indeed.
If she looked real close, and concentrated real hard, Felicity could see the Warblers, the Whippoorwills, and the Sparrows as they settled onto their perches in the trees for the night, letting their throats rest for the next day's melodies. They called out to her, "These last true notes are for you my dear, a serenade to send you into the wonderful world of dreams."
As the last soft sounds trailed off into sweet silence, Felicity's eyelids lowered on the gentleness of a world filled with love. The promise of a continuance of the wonder of it all eased her into the dreams that took her into the land where all things are possible.
The night spirits whispered in the wee hours of the morning, "Felicity, it's almost time. Wake up! You don't want to miss it." They knew how she loved to listen, as the chorus began, faint at first, then erupting into a crescendo so sweet, so full of love that every ear tuned in felt as if royalty was arriving. Felicity sat up in bed and peered expectantly out at the slowly brightening sky. Through the opening below the canopy of treetops she had a clear view of the eastern horizon.
Suddenly a great hush fell over the land. It was as if the world was holding its breath, waiting for a glorious surprise. Not a bird could be heard. Even the insects paused in their flight. The leaves on the trees quieted their rustling. The world of cars and buses and delivery trucks and barking dogs and laughing children was still asleep. You couldn't even hear a blade of grass rubbing against its neighbor. For a few magical moments the world stood absolutely still.
Then, there it was! The sound of God! The music of the Universe! A note so pure, so complete; it contained every note on the musical scale all at once. It resounded in perfect harmony to produce one beautiful tribute to the love that is all! The bliss felt in the heart and soul of all of God's creation held that note for one perfect moment of eternity.
Then, POP! A golden red sliver blinded every eye in the instant of awakening. The sun peeped its face over the horizon, announcing the beginning of an incredible new day!
As the morning sun rapidly filled the horizon with the radiant pinks, oranges, reds, and gold, the living world below began its celebration. The birds sang! Their throats swelled till it seemed they'd burst! The insects buzzed and swarmed, darting here and there, in and out, up and down. Then they rested on the nearest leaves and twigs and blades of grass, where they were gently greeted with a swaying welcome.
Skeeter and all his friends danced in circles till they were dizzy. They almost lost their night's treasure as they tripped over their feet. Then, giggling, they pulled the leaves over their door holes and hurried to their waiting families. Felicity giggled, and cried out to them, "It's a wonder you can fit through your doors, you're so fat from your nights feast!"
One night Felicity asked the night spirits, "Where do the clouds go when the sun shows its face in the morning? And what secrets do they hide as they hang there in heaven all night?"
The spirits exchanged happy glances, and nodded their heads. They moved closer so Felicity could hear. "There are some things that don't get revealed till the question is asked, for the answer till then would be meaningless." The spirits seemed to be speaking all at the same time in perfect unison, directly to her heart.
She felt their smiles as a wash of warmth flowed over her. "Some of the clouds roll on into the next night, which is waiting around the next turn of the earth. The others stay and play with the sun in the day. They all rebuild, and change shape, and create a new plan of entertainment to amuse themselves.
Sometimes they get so heavy they decide it's time to shed some of their weight, so they say, "The land is looking pretty dry. Let's sprinkle some of our moisture so the land will give thanks and send up it's renewing energy." Other times they feel the need for an appreciation of beauty, and they create themselves with the light touch of a feather in a dance across the sky."
Sensing Felicity's drowsy attention, the spirits whispered, "You can visit your dreams, and explore above the clouds. Then one day you'll discover and remember the secrets the night clouds hold. It'll open a whole new world for you; a world that will speak to you of home, and love, and the highest joy you can ever know."
Felicity heard those whispers as she drifted into dreamland. She wondered, how can I find the place above the clouds? I really want to go there.
No sooner was her thought on the wind, than the clouds parted and revealed a scene so glorious, so stupendous that Felicity blinked once, twice, three times, shaking her head. Then she dared to look again at what the clouds uncovered.
The sky was as black as the sleep she saw as she closed her mind to the night, and as deep as the bottom of the well in the backyard by the grove of poplar. And in the blackness were pinpoints of light, sparkling, blinking, all dancing to the music of the universe. Some of them joined together in a band of light that decorated the sky in a wave. Some grouped together in patterns that reminded her of some of her playmates on earth. One group resembled a dipper that seemed to empty itself into another, smaller one. She imagined specks of pure gold dust floating in a stream, to fill the smaller dipper in an ever-flowing pattern.
She felt she could reach out and touch them. When she did she was propelled beyond, gently floating past millions of tiny lights.
"Stars!" She heard in her heart. "Stars that contain the essence of all who have gone before, and all who will ever be. The universe is home to the stars, and the stars are home to us all."
She heard the night voices whisper, "You can carry them home in your heart, and they'll always be with you. You can play games with them at night, for they are always ready for adventure. This was your playground when you were new; this will be your playground over and over again. The stars help to renew you. They never forget you. They carry the love that created you. Their seed is in your heart; it will never leave you. Though you may not always remember, you will be reminded of their love every time you gaze upon them."
Felicity awoke early, before the first light of day started to brighten the sky. She whispered, "So long," to the stars as they slowly faded from view, and then closed her eyes once again, happily wondering if she'd visit the dreamland of stars ever again. A question started to form as she drifted into sleep, "Where do the stars go when the sun comes out in the morning?"