(A story written by Marilyn Jones for the White Eagle Family Service 3rd July 2016)Downs sky

Emily loved going out with her Grandpa – he would always take her to the park and playground, and when they had finished their fun on the swings and climbers they would buy an ice cream in the summer, and lie on the grass looking at the very blue sky through the shady leaves of a tree. When the sun shone down through the green leaves with the blue peeping through it was so peaceful. The warm South wind would blow the leaves gently to make such lovely patterns.

In the autumn Emily would kick up the fallen leaves watching them swirl in the North wind. Grandpa would buy a hot chocolate from the van at the park gate, and the two of them would make an I spy game with the pictures made by the clouds hurrying along. The birds would be eating berries, and the squirrels hiding food in the ground, and once they saw a glimpse of a fox’s tail disappearing through the bushes.

In the winter they couldn’t go out quite so often as Grandpa found the cold made his old bones creak. They might scurry round the park to keep warm on a good day in the winter sunshine, watching the sky to see if there were any snow clouds coming along – or wrap up really warm if it did snow.. They might take some grains to feed the ducks, and when it became dark really early in deep winter they watched all the lights come on around the town as the sun set behind the buildings. After that Grandpa would say – ‘Come on Emily, soup waiting at home.’ And home they would go to Dad who would have baked a cake and made some thick veggie soup with beans for supper. Mum was always grateful for a hot meal after work too.

But Emily’s favorite time of all was the Spring. You could never be sure what the weather would bring, and Grandpa would play a game with her. ‘Come on Em,’ he would say ‘What do we need to wear today?!’ And then he would look up at the sky, and smell the air, then he would stick his forefinger in his mouth and hold it up to see which way the wind was blowing. Emily would laugh, and do the same, put her hands on her hips, and declare ‘Why Grandpa, I do believe we will need our raincoats, and our sunglasses, and wellies!’

Grandpa taught Emily all about the sky; how the sun pulled the water from the sea and made the rain; how rainbows were made with the sun shining through the raindrops; how the warm West Wind and the cold North Wind came together to make the sparks of lightning and the crack of thunder. He would sniff the air to tell whether the air was going to be warm and dry or cool and moist, and showed her a compass to see which direction the wind was coming from. Once they were caught in a thunderstorm which was frightening, but also exciting! Grandpa kept hold of her hand tightly as they sheltered in a shop doorway. And then the sun came out and made a rainbow!

One very special summer that Emily will never forget, Grandpa and Grandma took Emily away on holiday for a few days at the seaside. They stayed in a little caravan on a campsite surrounded by beautiful countryside with a little stream running through it. Emily was allowed to stay up long past her bedtime to see the deer and the badgers running through the woodland, and then, then - one evening the stars were so bright and so beautiful they all sat outside in wonder. Grandpa knew all the constellations, the shapes the stars make. The evening grew colder so they snuggled under blankets, while Grandma brought them out their favorite hot chocolate. The moon came up in a beautiful huge disc and looked quite pink! Emily fell asleep in Grandpa’s arms whilst counting the stars, saying sleepily ‘I thought the moon was white Grandpa’.

Many years later, when she grew up, Emily became an artist. And her very special subject was – the Wonderful Sky!