One Kind of Lullaby



…let me live
in a small room
up the narrow stairs from the stalls,
the horse shifting comfortably below,
browsing and chewing sweet hay.
A single bed with blanket the color
of factory-sweepings will suffice,
each day shaped to the same arc, 
because days can only end when
the lock slides free on the stall’s
Dutch door, and I lead the horse in,
then muscle the corroded bolt shut.
That’s what days are for: I cannot rest
until the horse comes home.
~Julie Bruck from “To Bring the Horse Home”









The best moment in the barn is in the evening just following the hay feeding, as the animals are settling down to some serious chewing. I linger in the center aisle, listening to the rhythmic sounds coming from six stalls. It is a most soothing contented cadence, first their lips picking up the grass, then the chew chew chew chew and a pause and it starts again. It’s even better in the dark, with the lights off.

I’ve enjoyed listening to the eating sounds at night from the remote vantage point of my bedroom TV monitor system set up to watch my very pregnant mares before foaling. A peculiar lullaby of sorts, strange as that seems, but when all my farm animals are chewing and happy, I am at peace and sleep better.

It reminds me of those dark deep nights of feeding my own newborns, rocking back and forth with the rhythm of their sucking. It is a moment of being completely present and peaceful, and knowing at that moment, nothing else matters–nothing else at all.

If I am very fortunate, each day I live has a rhythm that is reassuring and steady, like the sounds of hay chewing, or rocking a baby. I awake thinking about where my next step will bring me,  and then the next, like each chew of sweet hay. I try to live in each moment fully, without distraction by the worry of the unknown.

But the reality is:
life’s rhythms are often out of sync,
the cadence is jarring,
the sounds are discordant,
sometimes I’m the one being chewed on, so pain replaces peacefulness.

Maybe that is why this lullaby in the barn~~this sanctuary~~is so treasured. It brings me home to that doubting center of myself that needs reminding that pain is fleeting, and peace, however elusive now, is forever. I always know where to find it for a few minutes at the end of every day, in a pastoral symphony of sorts.

Someday my hope for heaven will be angel choruses of glorious praise, augmenting a hay-chewing lullaby.

So simple yet so grand.










6 thoughts on “One Kind of Lullaby

  1. “Each day shaped to the same arch”… This whole post really touched me. As I age this becomes a deeper longing, the simple traditions embedded in life. I can understand why Catholics chant the hours, and the colored sky at morning and evening chores. Youth longs for wild freedom, age longs to follow the tracks left by the overlapping shades of memories and routines, sweetly flavored by ten-thousand repetitions.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How beautiful, Emily. A reminder that restorative peace – the kind that soothes the soul – can be found in even the seemingly simple instances and places in our everyday world where the ever-present cacophony blots out, distracts us from the ‘silence’ of inner healing and beauty. All we need do is to take the time to stop, listen, see that ‘other dimension’ that is always there for us to discover. I believe that it is in these times the Lord may be most easily found and where we may find that Peace that only He can provide..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This touched my soul. Your descriptions bring back such beloved memories. I lived and breathed horses. Read every book I could lay my hands on. On my 10th birthday I was surprised with the horse id been taking lessons on. I would sit with him for hours after riding. Grooming, listioning to his every move.

    Liked by 1 person

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