Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chasing Down the Moon: Part 4

Go expressly to enjoy the moon and it turns to tinsel,

but discover it on a necessary journey

and its beauty bathes the soul.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tonight, no moon, but feeling moon-y...or is that moody? The full moon energy has waned into a bit of monthly weariness but then again, it's been that kind of few days. But tonight–as we drove off to a church benefit supper at twilight when the purple, advancing wall approached us from the east and to the west it was orange and luminous–I thought about a favorite book of each of our children, but especially Henry. For a year or so of each of their childhoods it became a bedtime ritual. If you do not know the book, I highly recommend it for your own children or grandchildren or even to tuck away one day "in hopes"... I have three hardbacks tucked away myself, one to give each child one day when they have families of their own, or "just because."

It is Grandfather Twilight, written and illustrated by Barbara Berger [originally published by Philomel Books in 1984 and still in print]. It is a quiet and comforting book as Grandfather pulls the night along with him through the forest until he lights his candle and goes to sleep. But first he assembles "an endless strand of pearls" and one grows bigger and bigger as he walks:

"Gently he gives the pearl to the silence above the sea..."

The moon, of course!

If I had the book handy I would photograph some of Berger's exquisite images. [We also have her The Donkey's Dream in our Christmas library.] Grandfather also looks exactly like my husband's father, who the children called "Badda," who passed away in 2001, so it seems all the more poignant as we do miss him and carry him with us always.

Henry used to call this book "Grandfather Toolight" and as I write this I realize he is a week shy of being 12–yes, that was many moons ago now when we read this story together each night. Where do all of those moons go?

4 comments:

WendyGK said...

Catherine
My oldest is 19 and that was a favorite of his. We read that at bedtime for years. The Sun Rose was also a memorable book from that time in our lives. Thanks for reminding me of those hours shared with Grandfather moon and that beautiful book.

DellaRae said...

Even though I teach art, I also read to my students. I have shared this book with them for years. For the children who don't get bedtime stories, this is a good memory.

Sarah said...

This was a favorite of ours too!

Catherine said...

I enjoy revisiting children's picture books as an adult, even if my children have mostly outgrown them : (

Among my favorites: THE LITTLE HOUSE by Virginia Lee Burton; THE SNOWY DAY (forget author); BLUEBERRIES for SAL by Robert McCloskey (and all of his books); a recent one called OLIVER FINDS HIS WAY; ALL THE PLACES to LOVE by Patricia ?? and YONDER (forget author) and just about any book that talks about the seasons, rhythms of the year or farming.

I have several children's picture book manuscripts to "send out" but, like with so many things, they haven't left my desk...one day.

And, DellaRae, it saddens me to think that some children don't get bedtime stories.

Thanks for reading and posting, as always!

Catherine