My house is man-made, but not artificial. It is a private wonderland set off from the rest of the world by rhododendron bushes, red and pink Azalias, and swallow-tailed butterflies. In the daytime, the place is one of fun-of laughs and splashes. Neighbors bring their children, who wade in cautiously, always, always with their floaties. Sometimes, a friend and I have a competition: who can hold their breath the longest, who can swim the length the fastest. But in the afternoon, it is time for the children’s naps, friends must go home, and slowly the house becomes quiet as the last waves of movement trickle down to mere ripples, then become completely still again. This, this is when the house is at its best. Its beauty is exquisite. As the sun begins to set, I admire the red and purple sky for a few minutes, but then must leave to do other things. At night, I return out into the back. I am alone. Frogs croak and cicadas sing as I walk along the edge a few times, careful in the darkness not to slip. If I go in, I flip the light switch, but the harsh yellow beam brings buzzing creatures that I don’t like. I quickly descend the stairs out again, softly sit down on the brick lining, and dangle my feet in the water. It is soothing to my tired soles. Like a few hours before, I look up to the heavens. But this time, this time is different. No more swirls of color. Instead, I see black. But it is not pure black. There are speckles of milky white. As I gaze at them, I begin to wonder. Where will I be next year, will I be happy, what does my future hold? I don’t know the answers, but someone does. My house has stars.
*This piece was my own interpretation of Megan McDonald’s children’s book. It is a great activity to help students learn the 6 traits of writing and also to develop their preliminary research skills.