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So much stuff in the sky

     I went out looking for the Big Dipper in the summer's night sky. I remembered how, during the winter months, the Big Dipper sparkled gold against the jet black sky. But the summer sky was light and I couldn't find him anywhere. I looked for his faithful friend Little Dipper, but he, too, was obscured in the summer-light sky. I couldn't even find tall, proud Orion, the Special K of the heavens, who stands apart, so no one can scoop him into the Dippers, splash him with the Milky Way and eat him for a good, healthy breakfast among the stars.

     There was no moon in sight, and the lights of the city faded the already undark sky where here and there an occasional brazen star flaunted its brighter-than-the-rest-of-you goldness.

     Ah, the sky. Childhood memories of lying on my back in the dry grass on a summer day, feeling the earth turn ever so slowly beneath me as I stared at the arch of the still, blue sky above. Watching those innocent white puffs slowly grow into big soft animals in the sky and cast their enormous shadows over the hills until finally those shadows turned the soft animal clouds into ominous hovering gray mounds.

     So much stuff in the sky. Not just clouds and rain and stars and Special K and the Milky Way. A lotta bugs. The bugs like it down in the lower parts of the sky, close enough to – um, bug you. And the birds. A little further up, above the bugs, they wheel and soar and flit-flutter along. All shapes and sizes and colors. So happy they have no baggage to check, no lines to stand in, no scanners to wand them up one wing and down the feather.

     And beyond the birds and the bugs, light planes tool along, free-spirited but nervously checking the thunderheads forming nearby and the fuel gauge and the low-slung wires – and then suddenly soaring above it all, cartwheeling through the skies.

     Oops! What's that? Looks like someone's falling out of the sky! Two of them! Three… with some funny-looking umbrellas unfurling above them. Where'd they come from? I see where they're going. They won't be in the sky much longer.

     So much stuff in the sky. Treetops poking their heads up there where they don't belong. Kites going airborne, then falling in a swoop. Funny wicker baskets floating over the hills, with heads sticking out of the top. A Great Balloon hovers above each basket, roped into place so it can't float away. Gliders and vintage planes and uncorked bats that squeal as they flap through the night air and way, way up high – thirty thousand feet up high – a jumbo jet hums, slicing silently through the clouds.  From down here it doesn't look so jumbo. Looks like a speck in the sky.

     Inside that speck, standard-size human beings sleep, read paperback novels and tap-tap the keyboards of their laptops and shush the children and point excitedly out the window at the broad Mississippi River winding its way so far below. See how tiny it looks. It's getting bigger…

     Red flares blink below and the speck grows large – big as a jumbo jet, even - as it whines its way down to earth and with a huge shudder, roars and squeals its tires and finally stops.  Long lines of tired people spill out.

     And what do they do as soon as they get off the plane? Why, they look straight up at the sky to see what's up there – rain or sun or clouds. Mostly they don't notice the birds and the bugs and all that other stuff.

     So much stuff in the sky. Ain't it grand?

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