By Doris Garber

Once upon a time there was a place called Sunrise where the leaves turned crimson and floated upon the clear rushing water, along the bank of mossy green, under the sweeping branches, above the salamander speckled brown with large watery eyes, and clustered together as if to say, “We are one and move as surely as the stars.”

Upon the yellow leaf when days were long her mother had built a wicker basket of greenest grass and softest cotton safely hidden in the raspberry bush, for she was never to see her child as days ripened her seed, as the sunlight glistened upon the dew.

Each day her mother had watched the leaves turn so gently golden, waiting for the edges to turn bright red, when her wings would harden and she would float, as surely as the leaves, as surely as the stars.

A time came with the sweet morning breeze that she was swept up in the glowing rays over the clear rushing water to the bank of mossy green, where to her amazement was occuring a dance of wings as her brothers and sisters circled around rejoicing her arrival. There rang out songs proclaiming this beautiful world, songs which told of life in Sunrise, songs of the beginning, songs which lasted all night and they sang together until the morning came.

After a time, he took her hand and she was pleased, and they floated away as one, as surely as the leaves, as surely as the stars.

Together they found just the right spot on just the right bush and she made a wicker basket of greenest grass and softest cotton and together they sang, “Hush little baby, don’t you cry. Tomorrow’s going to be a new sunrise.”

And they were one, as surely as the leaves, as surely as the stars.


The June bug

img031Jefferson spotted a June bug on a blade of grass. He stalked it, like a cat, but when the time came to swoop in and scoop up the little beetle, Jefferson was too late. The June bug had flown away.

It was Elizabeth’s fault. She was hanging over a swing in their back yard on her belly, pushing herself off the ground with her feet. She had not been paying attention.

“You didn’t help me catch that June bug,” Jefferson yelled. “I’m not going to catch one for you.”

“Maybe she doesn’t want a June bug,” Jefferson’s mother offered indifferently.

“I don’t want a June bug,” said Elizabeth. “I want a June bug to live its life.”

“That is precisely how I feel,” Jefferson’s mother continued. “I don’t think it’s fair to all these snakes and salamanders and turtles you keep here in captivity, Jefferson.”

What did she know? His pets were happy. He fed them and talked to them every day. She just didn’t like salamanders and frogs because they were slimy and messy. And she didn’t care about June bugs because they would not help her clean the house and she couldn’t make them into characters in one of her little stories.

That evening, Jefferson and his father were outside feeding the turtles when they spotted another June bug. Jefferson’s father captured it and tied a string to its back leg. They went inside to show Elizabeth and Jefferson’s mother.

“Look,” Jefferson’s father said to his mother. “It flies around like a helicopter.”

Jefferson’s mother was folding laundry. She looked up at his father, who was beaming with pride.

“What grade are you in?” she asked, grabbing the laundry basket and walking away.

That night, Jefferson thought about what a hypocrite his mother was. All of the other moms in Springbrook Meadows let their kids have dogs even though the moms had to walk them and take care of them. Jefferson’s mother never made disparaging comments to them.

“Mama,” Jefferson said the next morning as she handed him a plate of cinnamon toast, “a June bug on a string is no different from a dog on a leash.”