When I was in around third or fourth grade, I read a story in a textbook that captured my imagination and helped me discover a lifelong love of reading. Like most stories that one reads in school as a child, it faded in my memory, even though it played an important role in my life. I always wanted to read it again, but I didn’t remember anything about it, other than the fact that it was set on Mars.
While browsing around the internet, I finally re-discovered it, after many years of searching. *Happy Dance*
The story is none other than Ray Bradbury’s “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed,” a tale about a homesick colonist and his family who are abandoned on Mars after a nuclear war grounds all spacecraft from Earth. As the colonists are changing Mars, Mars is changing them, morphing them into something completely alien from their former selves.
Lying abed, Mr.Bittering felt his bones shifted, shaped, melted like gold. His wife, lying beside him, was dark from many sunny afternoons. Dark she was, and golden, burnt almost black by the sun, sleeping, and the children metallic in their beds, and the wind roaring forlorn and changing through the old peach trees, violet grass, shaking out green rose petals.
Bradbury’s imagery is gorgeous. More than fifteen years later, the story is as lush and vibrant as I had remembered.