|Photo by Kyla|
On Christmas Eve the animals speak at midnight.
Children creep into the barn
hoping to hear what they might have to say.
My father would have told us,
when the animals, after all, stayed silent
as always, that we must have just missed them.
We would question him closely, demand to know
if he had ever heard them himself,
and he would spin one of his tales.
He was skilled at keeping the magic alive
while not leading us ever to expect
results. We didn't have a barn, though
and that always disappointed me. We also
didn't have far woods and fields to run out into
and explore freely. Dad always felt
it was somehow wrong that he couldn't just go exploring,
walk anywhere his curiosity led, that landowners
frowned on his rambles as trespassing.
Where he grew up, it was wide open then
and he never got over the closing down
of all that expanse. But he managed
to keep it alive inside, and display it
for children, at times like Christmas,
when the hunger for mystery takes us
to the place where we can believe even
all those stories we know are not true.
Just for a day, a night, just for now.