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Dreams of Iowa, Dreams of Stars

The ship surrounds him and bears him through space, and protected by her, he sleeps.
    And dreams of Iowa.
    He is a young boy. He runs with his dog through fields of grain, full of the smells of things growing, and of life.
    At night, he feels his father's hand, rough in his, as they walk into those fields.
    The boy looks up and gasps to see the sky so black, the stars so brilliant. His father names them, magic to the boy's ears, to his eyes, to his heart, to something within him that he does not yet understand.
    Rigel, his father says. Aldeberan, Antares.
    Yes, the boy says. He has never heard them before but he is certain that he knows them all. The names continue, the grain is forgotten. His mother waits in the house nearby, lights blazing through windows brilliant as the stars.
    But the boy looks up. I want to go there, he says, reaching out to them. His father's face is uplifted, too, feeling the heat of a thousand suns, seen and unseen, known and unknown.
    The boy is five years old and feels a pain in his chest with the weight of millenia, as if the whole species had moved forward to this one instant, to this one person, driving him on.
    I have to go there, the boy says. I know, his father answers. He reaches down and lifts the boy high, holding him to his chest with love, holding him to look up, just that little bit closer to the stars in his father's arms. And you will, Jimmy, you will.
    The boy's heart beats faster. I will, he whispers, clutching his father, afraid of the dark and the cold of night and the distance from the house, but hungry to see more. The challenge, the promise, the love he feels. All cast in him in that one night when first he looked up and knew where his destiny lay.
    That night his house surrounds the boy and bears him through the darkness, and protected by her, he sleeps.
    And dreams of stars."

    Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
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