Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars...

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star... How Zoe Wonders What You Are

"Mom, what is a star?," Zoe asks.
"What do you think a star is?," I sidestep.
"I think it is something that glows in the sky...but how does it stay up there? Why don't they fall?," she returns.
"What does your brain tell you about that?," I reply.
"I think they have gravity."
"I think you're right."

So, what is a star? By definition, a star is a "massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity." Wow...how does a being with only four and a half years under her skinny little belt know so much?

Today I ponder those sparkly orbs in the night sky. The definition of a star aside, a star is an evolving mystery in the life of a child. One of the first lullabies a little one will hear, one even dads feel comfortable singing, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a thing of dozy, calm, cuddling sounds. As baby grows, little fingers reach as high as they can above their little ears, opening and closing, stretching and clenching as she acts out the song even before she can sing along. Then comes the awareness that those little white twinkle lights, haphazardly hung in the expanse above the house is what a star is. Next comes the bedtime routine of reading stories and peeking out the window for glimpses of the Evening Star. 'Star Light, Star Bright...the first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, Have this wish I Wish tonight.' Summertime meteor showers arrive and stars are something to look for from the plaid blanket laid out in the back yard--only these ones don't stay still (oh and they aren't really stars, but you know...) but the little girls just wriggle and giggle and then get bit by mosquitos so there is no wishing upon a falling star tonight. A star becomes a landmark, a spot on a map on the way to follow Tinkerbell to Never Never Land...go past the second star to the right and go straight on 'til morning. A star is magic. A star inspires wonder...and then you're 4 and 1/2. And a star is a ball of plasma, held together and held in it's location by gravity. Thankfully, at this magical age, science and magic seem to co-exist pretty well. And members of all ages and stages in this household, lift our fingers up high over our heads, stretching them, clenching them, as our mismatched voices join together to sing to our newest family member....like a diamond in the sky...

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