Thursday, October 20, 2005

When I was little, I knew that there were wolves in the basement. A child doesn't care for the distinction between reality and dreams; both are equally strong presences in his life.

At night, I always crept into the kitchen (the stairs to the basement were at the far end), and gathered my snack foods as quietly as I could, then turned and ran as though my life depended on it. I remember shadows moving on the floor in the dining room as I dashed through, wildly thinking that the wolves were on my heels. Later, I know that the shadows were only from the tree-branches outside, waving in the night wind. But that moment in my child-life was real.

Now there is a children's book out: The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman. My memory of the wolves in the basement came flooding back. That's one of the things I love about books and reading. Every once in a while, a book comes along that revisits some part of your life, or brings back memories of a long-past era. Lately I have been so busy growing up that I forgot what it was like to be a child, when terror was as simple and as real as wolves in the basement.

Another thing about books is the feeling that some of them bring of entering a light-filled den where dad is calmly watching TV and mom is working on her needlestitch. The wolves in the basement disappear, forgotten as I step into the light and join my family.

PS--I have a new blog that got posted further down, below "Monday October 10th". Mom will probably like it.

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