Owl Moon

It was late one winter night,

long past my bedtime,

when Pa and I went owling.

There was no wind.

The trees stood still

as giant statues.

And the moon was so bright

the sky seemed to shine.

Somewhere behind us

a train whistle blew,

long and low,

like a sad, sad song.

Thus begins the children’s tale, Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen (copyright 1987). It’s a favorite story of my three little ones, who are all a little scared and very fascinated by what goes on in the dark outdoors. When we leave to go somewhere, and it is dark outside, before they get in the car they dash into the night and back again, “doing a brave,” as they call it. I notice they never do this quietly. In Owl Moon, being quiet gives the winter woods adventure more importance. My children do want to go owling, “but not until we’re a little older,” they say with a sideways glance out the dark window.

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