“It must be horrible!”
I’m not sure how to process
It comes as a shock.
Really, it does.
I read their expressions carefully,
just to make sure
they are serious.
You can see it in the eyes – the fright.
And then I realize:
They haven’t yet befriended the dark.
Then, I suppose, it might seem horrible.
It really might.
I remember my first camping trip:
How soon the sun set.
How the flaps of the platform tent
weren’t tied tight,
and that bothered me.
How something brash came in the night
and rumbled about under the floor boards,
and growled such a vicious growl.
How the girl sharing the tent with me
screamed, and then we both screamed
for the troop mothers to come.
And they didn’t;
not until we screamed again.
How we got in trouble for
making up stories –
Until one of the troop mothers
heard it too.
Yes, that vicious growl from that brash thing.
She screamed too.
They should have apologized,
now that I think about it.
Children deserve apologies
from adults from time to time.
But now I have to laugh,
Knowing what I didn’t know then:
Raccoons are a highly vocal lot.
Have you ever heard them having sex?
I won’t say more;
it’s something you should experience.
I’m lucky, I guess, to know darkness
as a welcome companion,
“No. It’s not horrible,” I want to say.
“It’s good. It’s really quite good. Very good, in fact.”
But I won’t say more;
It’s something to be experienced.
© 2013/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Snow Days: Reflections by Candlelight" (a work in progress)