Saturday, November 11, 2006

Whispering goodnight

Borland compares the fallen leaves to a colorful patchwork quilt of reds, tans, and yellows ready to blanket the earth and protect seed and root from frost until later in the season when it will be sheltered with a layer of glistening snow.

If we think of Spring as the morning of the year, then now is the evening, the bedtime of the green and flowering world. So, says Borland, the coverlet is spread and the tucking in begun. All that remains is someone to sing a lullaby to the earth, but the singers have all gone south. Who will whisper good night to the earth?

Part of my routine each morning is to read the daily entry in Borland's Sundial of the Seasons. Yesterday's entry, besides creating a wonderul image of the world being tucked in to sleep for the winter, reminded me of my childhood and the bedtime routine of being tucked in by mom or dad and saying my prayers:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I was also taught to add a request for blessings after that:

God bless mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpop, friends and brothers, and ....

Funny how I can still remember that so clearly, and that I remember adding people and animals onto the end of that list. I can almost imagine my mom or dad wishing I would hurry up already so that they could get on with whatever they needed to do and be finished with tucking me in. The most important part of the routine, once prayers were said, was that the bedroom door be left open and the hall light be on. I was scared of the dark and the things that lurked under my tall canopy bed. I loved to hide under there during the daylight hours, but at night it was inhabited by monsters just waiting to drag a little girl under by an arm draped casually over the bedside.

Whenever it was that I was old enough to sleep without the hall light on and too old to be tucked in, the bedtime routine changed to a personal one, with prayers whispered to myself and a goodnight kiss for my dad, who was usually up at all hours of the night working on the computer.

I must've learned from him to be a night owl, because I'm the last to bed each night, turning off the lights and saying goodnight to the bunnies and then the dog who is fast asleep beside my husband on the bed. I shoo him off to his own comfy bed and climb into the warm spot he left behind, wishing for someone to tuck the blanket under my chin and then whisper goodnight when my prayers are finished.


lené said...

What a sweet rememberance, Laura.

Susan Gets Native said...

I want that, too. All I get is a pat on my head if I'm lucky.
Nellie is good for warming up my side of the bed. She's huge and there's always a nice, big warm spot.

Endment said...

Thank you for sharing these very special memories!
Hal Borland is now part of my daily reading - another thank you for the introduction...
I think you just did add to the whispers of goodnight to the earth...

Cathy said...

That is so tender. Like Endment above, I need to thank you for the introduction to Hal Borland. I'm waiting for my Amazon delivery of his book. I fondly remember the warm place a dog creates in your bed as well as your heart.

Sandy said...

I enjoyed reading this so much. Isn't it something how the "rituals" of eariler life stay in our minds so well?

LauraO said...

Lovely memories. I enjoyed reading this post, maybe because it reminded me so much of my own childhood. I was taught the same prayer, but it later evolved into a list of thanks.

jemkagily said...

Did it ever bother you, the "if I should die" part of that prayer? It scared me enough that we have taught Fiona the "watch and guide me through the night, and wake me in the morning light" version of Now I Lay Me. She God blesses all the dogs she knows at the end of her prayers, too!

Mary said...

Your last two posts have really jogged some memories for me. So sweet! The "if I should die" part never bothered me but I remember my own daughter asking, "will I die?"

NatureWoman said...

I'm going to have to add Hal Borland's book to my list of books to read every day. Your childhood memories echo mine exactly. I used to drag out the blessings list so my Mom wouldn't leave my side. And the door had to left open a couple of inches so I could see the light. And there were ferocious monkeys under my bed at night. Don't know why monkeys - I must have had a bad experience. Even now I can't drap an arm or leg over the side of the bed and feel comfie.

MojoMan said...

Simply beautiful, Laura. I feel sad for all the children that don't have bedtimes like that.

Going to sleep as your DAD worked on the COMPUTER?? You must be much younger than I thought!

Body Soul Spirit said...

A lovely post and analogy. Childhood does not seem far away, even in middle age. I still cannot sleep with a closet door open as that is where the monsters lurked in my home.

LauraHinNJ said...

Thank you, Lene.

Susan: Buddy used to sleep in the bed with us, but then I bought him an *old folks* bed that is near a foot thick and good for his old dog's bones. I miss him in the bed though.

Endment: Glad to have helped you make his acquaintance!

Cathy: Another Borland fan club member! Good for you. I wonder why more people don't know of him.

Sandy: They do. I sometimes have to stop myself from asking my husband if *I can be excused* before I get up from the dinner table!

LauraO: Did you teach it to your son also? Just curious if it's still done.

Wendi: Yes, but I think I was first taught a different version, not the one you said, but similar. I can't remember how it went.

Mary: I hope I'm making you think of nice memories!

Naturewoman: Monkeys? Oh goodness! I still sleep curled up in a ball, lest any part hang over the side. ;-)

Mojoman: Hmmm... our first computer was in 1981, I think, a Radio Shack TRS-80 that did nothing when you turned it on. The cursor just blinked at you waiting for you to program it to do something. Very boring. My dad loved computers, used to take them apart on the kitchen table to *fix* them.

BodySoulSpirit: No, I don't like closet doors open either. I can remember playing in my closet - used to seem so big in there!