A friend and I were talking about how much I enjoy visiting a nearby pony stable .
Then I mentioned that I hadn’t been there since before Thanksgiving (late November, to our non-US readers) and that I missed it and should go soon, at least before Christmas.
She added, “You should go on Christmas Eve.”
I agreed. Anywhere but the super market or the mall on the day before Christmas. And to go some place that I enjoy? Even better.
But that’s not what she meant. “You know what I mean,” she pressed.
I told her that the symbolism of a visit to a barn on Christmas Eve wasn’t lost on me. After all, Christmas celebrates a family taking temporary quarters in a barn, along with a donkey. The “family car” in those days.
Then, she smiled as if I were clueless. “No. You can see if the animals talk at midnight. You know? Like the legend says?”
I think I gaped at her. Nice friend I am.
But I know that my friend, who is both intelligent and literate, has faith in the existence of many things unseen, from the conventional topics of faith to the unusual or the “extreme possibilities” that Mulder used to talk about.
So, while our conversation switched to other topics, my mind multi-tasked to the practicalities of the previous one. Midnight in December in a New England stable?? Man – would that be cold. Um, no thanks. No matter how much I love going.
Besides, the “welcome anytime” hospitality that I’ve enjoyed probably doesn’t mean “midnight.” Let alone on the eve of a major holiday.
A chain reaction of commotion
First off, I’d disturb the ponies (and the horse and the mule). They’d wake up and rustle around and think that it’s time for breakfast. Oops. They wouldn’t like that I’d pop in and disturb them for nothing. Some would stomp, some would whinny and the mule would bray.
So, yes, I already know that the animals would be talking. But the message would be, loosely paraphrased, you’re here now. Feed me, like herbivore versions of Audrey II.
After all, man-eating plants from outer space have no fury like a petulant pony expecting a midnight supper that isn’t coming.
Then, all of the commotion would would wake up the family who lives in the house close to the barn. And then the other horses in the nearby boarder’s barn would respond to the noise.
Fortunately, there’s a junior high school on the other side of the boarders barn, so the school would be empty. With any luck, the houses on the other side of the school would not hear the animals carrying on, so those would enjoy peace on Christmas Eve.
Animals talk all the time
So, I don’t need to go to the barn on Christmas Eve at midnight to know that the animals talk. Because they communicate quite well, thank you, with noises and, especially, body language.
All a careful observer needs too see is a gaze, an ear swivel, a tail flick, or a head welcoming you from over a fence rail to tell you, I’m ready to come in now. Or even, hey, I know you.
Friends with horses tell me that their horses have a special whicker to welcome them. The ponies at the barn don’t know me well enough yet to, for all intents and purposes, have a “name” for me. To them, I’m merely another one of the loyal servants who has fed them in the past and is perfectly capable of doing so again. ASAP, preferably.
Those of us blessed with animals in our lives know that we don’t have to wait until Christmas Eve for magic to happen. We enjoy magic every day.