We arrived home at midnight Christmas Eve. After slipping into my barn coat and boots, I rushed to the barn. Would our sheep, horses, llama and cat be kneeling in the barn like the animals of the Thomas Hardy poem?
Instead of kneeling, I found the sheep and horses standing and restless as the coyotes' yips rolled from the riverbanks up to the barn. The yipping continued, even as I yelled, "Enough."
On this Christmas Eve, there would be no kneeling in my barn.
And yet, I wasn't disappointed. Miracles don't just happen on Christmas Eve. If we look, we can see them everyday -- in the birth of a lamb, in the flight of a bird, in the silent communication between a ewe and me.
On this Christmas Eve, I was looking for the animals kneeling into the night. But as I listened to the haunting yips and calls of the coyotes, I realized that hearing them doesn't happen everyday. Even rarer was the long chorus they performed that night.
For a few seconds, as the animals stirred, I just listened to the calls and was thankful to live where I can listen to cud-chewing and whinnies and yips on Christmas Eve.