For years afterward, the children would remember
their visit to the planetarium with great fear. They were
enthralled by streams of stars stretching across a
vast dome of sky. Only the brochure frightened them.
“Welcome to Mauna Kea Observatory on the Island of Hawaii.
You have never before stood so close to the stars.
Throughout the night, telescopes will be pointed at
various objects in the sky. You may see nebulae, clusters,
comets. You may feel lightheaded, short of breath.
Be sure to dress warmly. Do not drink alcohol or overeat.
If you are recovering from a doomed love affair; if you
are pregnant or trying to be; if you are prone to fits of
ecstasy or delusions that you can fly; if you’ve been diagnosed
as irrational, flighty, or strange; if people call you bi-polar,
please think twice before proceeding further.
“If your children are under age 11, please delay their
visit until they reach puberty. You may visit the snack bar
and gift shop in the lobby.”
“If you wish to climb to the summit, do so at your own risk.
Mahalo and enjoy your visit!”
“That’s bull,” said the father. “Walk right up, children. Up to