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Wednesday, September 14, 2011



It was the dark of the night, but the moon shone bright
Casting shadows on things below
What was the cause, the reason for it all?
Even with time, we may never know.

I have talked before about when I first wrote this little poem that is now a book I hope will reach out and touch others.  I explained how we had two little boys who came home from school one day complaining that all poetry was awful.

I tried to tell them that that was not true.  Poetry could do wonderful things.  It was so much more than simply some words that rhymed.  They laughed and said, “sure…love poetry…yuck.”  They were young enough they had not discovered girls were anything more than irritating.

I could see that they had already made up their minds about all poetry.  I told them it could be like a secrete code.  A secrete code is something that tells more than it appears and only certain people could figure it out to understand all that it said.  What if poetry could be like that?  What if it could tell more than just what the words said?

They gave me one of their special looks that says, “Sure Mom….” Without words.  I told them that I was going to write them a poem myself.

The Pumpkin Field is what I wrote so many years ago.  I wanted to write something that could do as I had promised and be like a code they could work to figure out.  I wanted to be able to write something they would like when they first heard it but also every time there after.  I wanted something they could see more and be inspired to think about as the years passed.  I wanted it to have a long reach through all of the years and to all who read it.

One thing that many people seem to enjoy is a scary story.  It may be about a ghost or a haunted place.  It may be about a time or certain person but many people love a scary story or one with the unknown factor.  I did not want it to cause nightmares in the young or increase fears they may have but to still be interesting.  I wanted it to be one that held the interest but also might make them think or share their thoughts and feelings.

The Pumpkin Field is a magic place where anyone can go.  It is a place of mystery and adventure and finding some things that are special.

It was the dark of the night, but the moon shone bright casting shadows on things below.  What was the cause, the reason for it all?
Even with time, we may never know.

Many children fear the dark, the unknown, things that are different, dreams, and many more things they do not always have the words to communicate. I we ask if it is dark at night the answer will be yes. How dark is dark? If there is fear of the dark, we may need to take a closer look and discover what it is that we are afraid of.

There have been many times I have gone outside when there was a full beautiful moon and shown those same children the dark of night.  We talked about how the heavens were filled with the beautiful light of the night in the moon and stars that sparkled like diamonds in the night sky.  I showed them their own shadows and that it was nothing to fear.

Older people often realized more from the same phrase or found other thoughts that came to mind.  I believe by using this brief tale it allows us to open countless avenues encouraging discussions, thoughts, teaching new things, observing, and sharing.

Every time I have read it, the kids love it and never seem to tire of it…but no matter how many times we read it there is always more for them to talk about and share that it instigates.  It starts out with “It was the dark of night but the moon shone bright, casting shadows on things below…..That sounds ominous but allows us to share later with the child.

 I can remember going outside at night with a clear sky and full moon many times.  When I ask them if it is dark at night their eyes get big and the answer is immediately,,,,YES.  What is dark?  We gaze up at the beautiful night sky lit by the soft moon light and sparkling stars across the heavens.  We could talk for hours, right there and then.  I show them how the moon shines enough light to make shadows and they realize no matter how dark we think it is, there are different lights.  It can be related in so many ways depending on the age of the person involved in the discussion or their own needs.  You would not believe how many adults have talked for hours about these things.  A child filled with fear of the dark often finds a new understanding and release from such fear.

There have been a few occasions when we had gathered with family or friends that I had conversations with adults who had overheard the viewing of the night with the children.  The same simple statement brought other emotions and thoughts to mind and offered a way to find expression.  There are as many thoughts, feelings fears and emotions as there are individuals, but it is often hard to find ways to recognize things that are deep with in and even harder to find a way to deal with them or express them.  It is amazing how often this little poem opens doors.

More than once “the dark of night” has been related to a person’s life.  The voice was soft but the words were from the heart.  “It is odd, but when you said the dark of night, I thought of how dark it sometimes feels in my life.  I have actually felt as if there was no light left….kind of lost…  But there are stars and light..I guess?  ..even if it is still far away and not that bright.”

Another individual related to the darkness instead of the light.  “It makes you realize there really are shadows in the darkness.  You may have some light but who knows what all there might be out there in the night in the shadows?”

There have been so many reactions from the one simple line.  I would like to tell you exactly what it does mean but I do not have all of the answers to life’s questions.  There are times that we can only discover the answers for ourselves…not what someone else tells you they are.  This little story can not tell all of the answers to life but it can be something enjoyed and shared. 

I think that one of the greatest fears in life is the unknown.  We often have great fear and apprehension of the unknown.  If we are afraid of snakes we may be very afraid but we might avoid them, or run away from them or not go in areas where they might be found.  It is a fear but one that we understand.  If we are afraid of high places we might not climb to the top of a ladder or choose rock climbing as our favorite sport.  If there are things in our lives that we do not understand or that are hidden from us through any number of things such as lies, deception, or even evil intent….we have no defense from what we do not understand.  The unknown might be the shadows the light has not yet lit…but there is light.  Even in our darkest hours we are not alone.  I believe…I really believe there is light to show us the way in our lives.  Our paths may not be easy and the way may be filled with detours but we can not give up.  Even in the darkest hours….the moon shone bright and we can walk with our shadows until the dawn.

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