Ronni, dean of elderbloggers brought back this moment yesterday with this rare video. Oddly, I could still recall certain lines almost 70 years later. One of the great moments of American history.
The Rural Life
New Year’s Eve
At midnight tonight, the horses on this
farm will age a year. That is the custom — every horse has the same
birthday, Jan. 1. Like all things calendrical, this is a human
convention. When it comes to equine conventions, I know enough to
notice some of the simpler forms of precedence: who goes first through
a gate, who gets to the grain feeder ahead of the others. But I can
report that the horses make no fuss about their common birthday or the
coming of the new year. Tonight, like any other, they will be standing,
dozing on their feet, ears tipping back and forth at the slightest of
There is something deeply gratifying about
joining the horses in their pasture a few minutes before the clock
strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. What makes the night exceptional, in
their eyes and mine, is my presence among them, not the lapsing of an
It’s worth standing out in the snow just to savor the
anticlimax of midnight, just to acknowledge that out of the tens of
millions of species on this planet, only one bothers to celebrate not
the passing of time, but the way it has chosen to mark the passing of
time. I remember the resolutions I made when I was younger. I find
myself thinking that one way to describe nature is a realm where
resolutions have no meaning.
It’s not that time isn’t passing or
that the night doesn’t show it. The stars are wheeling around Polaris,
and the sugar maples that frame the pasture are laying down another
cellular increment in their annual rings. The geese stir in the poultry
yard. A hemlock sheds its snow. No two nights are ever the same.
always wonder what it would be like to belong to a species — just for a
while — that isn’t so busy indexing its life, that lives wholly within
the single long strand of its being. I will never have even an idea of
what that’s like.
I know because when I stand among the horses
tonight, I will feel a change once midnight has come. Some need will
have vanished, and I will walk back to the house — lights burning,
smoke coming from the wood stove — as if something had been
accomplished, some episode closed.