The darkness here is soft and quiet.
Sometimes night is so still we can hear the voices of faraway neighbors over the snow – soft, murmuring voices without words. Sometimes the night is loud: pouring rain on the yurt-roof, coyotes howling, owls, foxes, the wind in the tall pines.
Out under the moon the darkness is gentle, but it carries a hidden power. And sometimes, the night is just a little unsettling. I feel it walking down to check the goats, or searching the sky for Cassiopeia – there’s a waiting feeling in the trees, or in the shadows beside the woodpile. I can greet the darkness and move through it, but my little ones aren’t ready for that yet.
When they feel the cold shadows, when they wake up all wrapped in darkness and loneliness, that’s the time to introduce them again to the motherhood of Night. To be there – close, warm, gentle – to whisper ‘sleep’ and hold their small bodies in my arms.
I think the night is like a mother, like a dark womb making all of us small again. Children especially become tiny within her. They’re babies again, and the comfort they find as they wake makes it possible for them to develop a new intimacy with the darkness. To fall in love with the moon and greet all the stars in friendship.
It’s funny how our dreams change us. How the night makes everything inside our minds grow wild like poppies in a field. It’s so tender to find that big-kid curled up small under the covers. And it’s so good to give them that gentle intimacy with the nighttime dark. To sing them to sleep in the certainty that their cries will be heard, that the darkness can’t muffle their voices. That there is plenty of time to become acquainted with the night – slowly, and together.