Remembering ‘Midnight Farm’

Good evening, readers!

A couple of nights ago, I was listening to some lovely music on my Rachel’s station on Pandora. Rachel’s is a little known instrumental band. I’ll detail them more in tomorrow’s Inspiration Through Music post…

As I sat listening to them, I let my mind wander and found myself imagining a farm at night. A blue blanket of darkness basked the quiet world and the animals were fast asleep in it. I always imagine for some reason that I’m standing in my kitchen in the darkness of this farmhouse, staring out my backdoor at the tall grass in the field, which gently sways in a light breeze. The moon is full and highlights a stretch of land that rises up into hills before fading into clusters of trees.

The kitchen I’m standing in isn’t the one I have now, nor is it the one I had growing up. It’s the kitchen of my dream house. The walls are painted navy blue. Old antique furnishings are placed around the room, and small red and yellow accents can be picked out here and there. It’s large and homey and smells of a recently cooked potroast or a warm sugary dessert. I can see myself perhaps twenty years from now living in this old farmhouse on a tranquil country road in Maine and sigh with anticipation for it.

Then the song is over and I open my eyes.

The images I’ve described are all inspired by something. It wasn’t until a few nights ago that I realized some came from a children’s book that my mom used to read to me when I was little. For the life of me though, I couldn’t remember the title. I must have typed every single word into google that night trying to come up with the name of it and still couldn’t remember it. But I remembered the pictures vividly. The dark colors used, the ways the artist gorgeously captured the animals… it had made me feel like I was there.

I looked and looked for the title and the longer it took, the more frustrated I became. Some part of me, however small, was saddened by the fact that I couldn’t remember. And that I missed it. I hadn’t read this book in many years. Yet, the memory of it in those minutes was so strong that it made it absolutely impossible for me to concentrate on anything else that evening.

When I went to my parent’s house today, I found the book. “Midnight Farm.” What a ridiculously easy title to remember… “Midnight Farm” is written by Reeve Lindbergh and illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The book was published in 1987.

This book was written as a way to calm and soothe children’s fears of the darkness. It showed how the darkness can be safe and beautiful, that not everything lurking in the blackness is harmful. It describes in poetic prose some of the animals who inhabit the farm that this child and his mother live on. My favorite illustration is, without a doubt, the one of the deer standing at an orchard pond.

Stunning artwork by Susan Jeffers!

The deer were the first image I remembered fully when I was trying to recollect the book and its not hard to see why. Each drawing is so detailed and exquisite that they’ve stained my memory indefinitely.

As a child, I read voraciously. I spent way too much time at our local library. I’d sit for hours in the children’s section filing through all of the books and reading them there, without a care in the world for anything else. There are very few books that stand out from those years.  Jean de Brunhoff’s ‘The Story of Babar’, Graeme Base’s ‘Animalia’, and Matthew Sturgis’s ‘Tosca’ books were the only other ones that I really remember and enjoy remembering. Whether it was the dazzling illustrations on each page, the brilliant usage of language, or both at the time, I’m certain that because of all of these books, and especially ‘Midnight Farm’, I was inspired to write stories of my own, launching my desire to be a writer early on.

‘Midnight Farm’ will always have a special place in my book collection as the one that captured my attention for the first time in the writing world, the one who’s images still inspire me and continue to morph my dreams. The one that, when I close my eyes, shapes my desire of where I want to be twenty years from how.

My advice to you is that you find this book and read it. Appreciate the illustrations and the wonderful use of words in it. Then find the book that was your favorite when you were a child. Why did you enjoy it so much? How did it change your life?

Tomorrow will be my weekly Inspiration Through Music post. I’ll be discussing five songs that helped inspire my writing on “Vox.”

Until then, good evening. May you dream of a peaceful farm at midnight with the animals just settling into their cozy beds. And may you not be afraid of the darkness. At least… for tonight anyway.

KSilva

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