“Tell me a story about night!” She demands, as we drive away from the doctor’s office.
My mind is buzzing with words like adenoids, tonsils, and the looming specter of possible surgery and its attendent risks and benefits. I don’t know any stories about night. I struggle to turn off my thoughts and worries and be creative for her. Knowing that she’s been listening to the doctor too. And she, too, is anxious.
“Mommy?” She asks when I wait just a little to long.
I relax my thoughts and voice and begin.
“Once, long ago, when the earth was new and the rules were a little different than they are today, there were two young wolves.
And they argued over who was braver. One wolf said that she was so brave that he would stand on the top of the tallest mountain. And they raced each other to the top.
The other wolf said that she was so brave that she would swim the widest river. And they race each other across.
Finally as the light began to grow long and the night drew nearer, one said to the other, “I am so brave that I will sleep out in the meadow away from our cave and mother.” Ah, thought the second wolf. That is very brave. “I will, too.” She said.
So, they laid in the grassy meadow as the light grew long and the frogs and crickets grew loud. And the night noises surround them and the night smells filled their noses. And it grew darker. And darker.
The two wolves huddled close together. They couldn’t see. It was too dark.
They could hear things, but they sounded very different from daytime noises.
The smells that filled their noses were very strange. The missed the smell of their mothers warm fur and the sweet scent of their own warm den.
And they grew very afraid. They shook against each other. And when they heard a small noise at once they both began to cry.
They raised their noses in the air and howled. AAarROOOO. Arr-ar-ar-OOOOO! Ar-arRoooo!
The night grew very noisy around them. Finally Sister Moon came to see what was making all the noise. As she looked down on the scared, brave young wolves she smiled. “Silly wolves,” she chided, “You do not have to be afraid of the dark. I will always come to show you the night.”
They looked around and saw that the field that they had laid down in the light was just the same in the dark. There was nothing to fear. They both howled again, but this time with joy. Aar-Rooo!
And even now, when you find yourself afraid of the dark, you just have to wait and the Moon will come to show you the night. And even now, when the moon rises in the wild places you can hear the wolves call to her. “
From the back seat she howls, “Aar-Rooo!”
I smile over my shoulder at her. My fear is washed away by the knowledge that sometimes things are just the same as they always were.