Saturday, January 24, 2009
In the Still of the Night
This cold, rough winter has added into my already full schedule an extra, after-dinner trip to the barn. It’s been a testimony to how much I love my horses that I once again bundle up and leave my warm, comfy house to give Silk and Siete some more hay and check to see if they need water in these single digit frozen nights.
After complaining about the new routine for a few weeks, I slowly began to appreciate being out at the barn in the cold and darkness. The sky always provides me with a new show, whether it’s studded with stars or dramatically revealing the moon behind white snow clouds. The horses begin murmuring their approval as soon as they see me walk out the backdoor and head down the path. It makes me so glad that I climbed into my boots and coat and scarves and hat one more time so that they will have hay to warm their bellies overnight. The heated water buckets are usually half-empty, making me thankful that the horses are drinking enough and that I had the good sense to come out and fill them again so there will be enough water to last until morning.
The best part about going out to the barn in the still of the night is the great blanket of silence. After everyone is taken care of and I’ve turned off the lights, I stand for a moment to just be there with my horses and listen to nothing. This moment gets harder and harder to walk away from since it feels so satisfying and right, but the glow of the lights in my house reassures me that everything is safe and good all over this place. The cold intensifies the sound of my feet crunching in the snow, and I can still hear the horses munching their hay almost all the way to my backdoor. I say a little walking prayer, thank (step) you (step), thank(step) you(step).
Last night, the temperature warmed up into the 30’s, so I decided not to go to the barn. I really missed it. As I crawled into bed, I thought about how what first appears to be change due to adversity might actually be a lesson in flexibility and appreciation. I stopped to consider all the other ways that the belt-tightening and variations of old routines are leading us to a more meaningful and balanced way of living. It’s still going to be a cold shock to step outside and head for the barn when the temperatures drop back down tonight, but there’s a new understanding about why I need to do it that helps me make peace with it.