C: Fear Itself

whippoorwill 2We’ve lived a long time in the woods—or at least near to the woods.  The forest comes up close to my house on two sides and from there stretches miles back over hills interrupted only with dottings of civilization.  Hearing the night forest sounds when the weather allows open windows is one of my favorite things about living out here.

One of the sounds I love is that of the whippoorwill bird, who sings only at night.  For those of you who live out of his range, you can hear one at this site.  Scroll down to the section on “call” where you will find a recording.

Normally I hear the whippoorwill from the darkness of the forest.  Lately, however, I have had one calling on my back utility porch.  His song is loud and from so close fills my den.  That porch is the point of my home which is nearest to the woods, the steps being but maybe 50 feet to the thick trees.  Hearing him so close made me think about the whippoorwill’s impact on my son.

When my son was born we lived whippoorwill 3even more-surrounded by woods than now.  The whippoorwills were common out there and sang to us.  Oddly enough, my son developed a fear of the whippoorwill.  My husband was largely at fault. 

One night as he was tucking our nearly-four-year-old into the bed, Son asked about the sound coming from the woods.  “That’s the whippoorwill,” his father said.  “He only comes out at night.”

Son sat upright in the bed.  It seems that “night creatures” whippoorwillequated with “bad” to him, and he let his father know that this was an unsettling thought to him.

Don’t worry, Son,” Dad soothed.  “I bet Molly (our cat) goes to visit the whippoorwill when she’s outside.  You know how she likes to be out at night, too.”  Son relaxed.  And then Dad, unable to leave well enough alone,  messed up…bad.

So long as you hear the whippoorwill you don’t have a thing to worry about…” (could he have stopped here?  Nope, he was too wound up).  “In fact, it’s when you don’t hear him that you should be worried.”

Well, as you know, the whippoorwill calls a lot at night but not all the time!  The minute it stopped that night, Son was running to our bed.  “Dad!  I can’t hear the Whippoorwill!!”

It took us weeks to calm him out of this fear.

And that reminds me of another time, after we had moved to the city.  Dad struck again.  He was tucking Son into bed and praying for him as was his custom.  This time he added a little:  “And, Lord, please protect us through the night.”

Son sat up straight in the bed.  “From what?”

He wanted to know exactly what disaster was coming down the pike from which Dad was seeking divine protection.  This necessitated a two-parent discussion of the generality (not always the specificity) of God’s protection.  It took a while to calm Son down and convince him that Dad did not know of some impending danger.

All this remembering makes me wonder about myself.  What “unknowns” am I afraid of that are really only benifear itselfgn unknowns?

Many, I think...perhaps when I feel fear of “unknown,” of moving from my comfort zone, I should recall the whippoorwill, his reassuring call and the generality of God’s protection.  My little utility-porch buddy has been a good reminder and a great encouragement.




Vee said…
Fathers sure do know how to step in it sometimes. (Moms, too, I'm sure.) That is such a cute story! I have a section on fear in my quotes journal because I need to remind myself from time to time Who exactly is in control...like these days. One of my favorites:
For every ten problems you see coming down the road, nine roll harmlessly into the ditch before they arrive. ~Calvin Coolidge

Always lovely to find you here!
I heard a whipporwhill just the other evening. I don't ever remember hearing them when we lived in town! I love their little song --I find it very reassuring.
Woops - I forgot to identify myself as Cowgirl "V"! Folks might find it strange to think you were commenting on your own post!
KathyB. said…
My husband & I live near the edge of the woods and love to listen to the night sounds, but we have no whippoorwills. Only the sound of owls, coyotes, my doves, and occasional dogs barking.

I think it is very telling how your son picked up on what was NOT said, and took immediately assumed there was danger. You are right, this is very much like us ( me ) and I know I should remember God is in control, but far too often the comforting night sounds diminish and I fear the unknown.

I will now remember my doves who coo all night long, even through horrific storms, are the voices of encouragement reminding me God is in control, I need not fear.
It's so easy to get ourselves into trouble without meaning to or even knowing. I adore sitting on the back porch at 3 a.m. and listen to the bird song; it's more beautiful than during the day.
Thought of you when I posted yesterday...more government trampling of the Constitution.

Popular posts from this blog

C: Joie de Vivre!

Cowgirl V: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Guest Post by K: Whirlwinds of Change & a New Normal