Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Duck in the Night

My (adult) daughter Sopie* knows me well. She's just one of those people who's listening when you didn't know she was. One of those people that always gets you the gift that's just right because she heard you make some obscure comment seven months ago about how your husband always complains when you read in bed. Yeah.

So Sophie surprised me once again. She bought me a book-light. Probably every book-addict worth their salt (I have no idea where that came from...salt?) already has one. But I didn't. So I was thrilled far beyond what is reasonable. I practiced by turning all the lights off in the living room and attaching it to a magazine. Wow. It was fabulous. It has a button that you push (so technological) and the light slowly folds out and into position. And it is very light...well I guess a light would be. I went to bed early and turned off the lights. I read a few words of my book. It was great. Then I turned my bedside table lamp back on and read until my husband came to bed. I was like a kid on Christmas...I couldn't wait! Finally he came to bed and I flipped the light on. I read a few words, and then I noticed something.

The light was bright enough to make some pretty cool shadows on the walls and ceiling. A pile of clothes morphed into a shadow-mountain. A vase-shadow stretched to the ceiling. A lotion bottle became a pillar in Greece and a plastic Army-guy (my son's toy, not my husbands) stood larger-than-life, ready for battle.

My husband settled into sweet slumber, I unclipped the light and aimed it around the room. Shadows stretched tall and shrank back. My finger inadvertantly held over the light, I got an idea. Hand-shadows. I made every animal shape I could remember, childhood memories flooding. My favorite was always a duck, probably because we live near a duck pond. I glanced at my husband...still asleep. Then I caught myself.

I opened the book and clipped the light back on. I read a few words. Then I turned it off and went to sleep...a slight smile crept across my lips as I thought about my silent silliness.

Sometimes I think it is wise-well maybe not wise. Sometime I think it's smart-well maybe not smart. Sometimes I just have to go with the moment. Sometimes I think you must throw out all "shoulds" that we adults are so full of and add in a "wanna." I wanna make hand-shadows. Why? I don't know, I just wanna!

As for the book light. I am hoping that the novelty will wear off and I'll be able to concentrate enough to actually read at night now. If not, you'll find me late at night, making shadows on my ceiling. So if you walk by my house and swear there's a giant duck in there, no need to panic. It's just me, "reading" before bed.

Write On


*not her real name


SK said...

Excellent and thought-provoking piece. I'm prone to silly flights of fancy myself, and for the most part I have never really felt that self-conscious about it. I think a person can meet their grown-up responsibilities and obligations without losing their child-like sense of wonder.
--Scott(skelly on AW)

Karen L. Alaniz said...

You're lucky. See, if someone was watching me make that duck on the ceiling, I probably would have stopped pretty fast, unless they told me how very talented I am, in which case, I'd still be there.

Thanks for the comment!


Margie said...

I don't think I could ever do the reading-in-the-dark thing. I'm one of those people that hates to watch TV in the dark and even with a little light, I think I'd go nuts trying to read in the dark LOL

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Yeah-so far it's not working for me either. Dang! It was such a great solution too. I'm a terrible movie watcher (at home). It's boring and I get drives my family crazy.


Anonymous said...

You have so much talent. When I read anything you write I just get hooked...I am an avid reader in english and spanish and I have to say I truly am becoming a huge fan!

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Evelyn- Oh what? I have a fan! Woohoo! I've always wanted one of those. Next on my list is paparazzi and then I want to be forced to live in a huge security-gated home to keep everyone from breaking in to steal next update on my blog ( JK Rowling doesn't have that much to worry about).

But seriously- Thanks for the quit stalking me or I'm calling the police!