Sunday, December 21, 2008


Few places call to my spirit like a barn. They have a special kind of magic--no fairy dust needed, just the get-yourself-dirty kind.

Perhaps my perception comes from my early, horse-less years. The years when my parents knew what every birthday and holiday wish would be. How I loved hanging out in stables and barns, just to get close to horses and everything that came with them. The smell of leather, warm horse, and sweet hay, mixed with the ever present tang of ammonia, is deeply imbedded in my senses. Call it aromatherapy. In my opinion, the world is easily divided between those who think a stable stinks and those who know better.

As a teenager, I had my share of jobs cleaning stalls and barns for other people. While the work was back breaking--no sissies allowed--the barn door was a place to shed teen heartaches and anxieties. I could both lose myself and be myself in the company of horses and plenty of manual labor.

As a child and teen, the structure we used to store feed and tack could hardly be called a barn. It was the product of a thrifty 80-year-old man who dogmatically refused to get a building permit. Instead, Grandpa fashioned a makeshift lean-to out of plywood, nails, and stubborn independence. Sheer will power held it together, I'm sure. While I was grateful for the "barn" and the horses it served, my heart held out hope that someday I'd have the real thing. The kind with stalls, a hayloft, and cats; where husky, horsey sounds would greet me day and night.

Shortly after my 30th birthday, my husband and I bought our first property. Forget about the house, it had a barn! Once used to raise ponies, my barn had stalls, a tack room, and hayloft. When I first walked inside, the spirit of it's former life whispered to me through a pile of old horse shoes, hooks for hanging harnesses and a wall hung with the carved wooden names of ponies long gone. Perfect. Soon the stalls contained new horses, my horses, who greet me daily with husky, grateful sounds and provide work that continually reacquaints me with the simple, authentic side of life. I can still be myself best in a barn.

The only kind of savior for me is the One born in a barn. Someone unafraid to get His hands dirty. Someone humble, real, and sheltering.

Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

gudinna said...

Beautiful, Cath. Love the photo of the barn in the snow. I always remember the excitement of the first snow and you riding in it.