A moment of beauty and joy

  • Lights surround Millie, the Scottish Highland calf, and 14-year-old Rowan at the Brookside Congregational Church. Courtesy of Carole Soule

  • Eleanor the Donkey greets a young visitor at Brookside Community Church. Courtesy of Lisa Fleming Brock

For the Monitor
Published: 12/23/2022 11:31:52 AM
Modified: 12/23/2022 11:29:07 AM

Sometimes, when I’m not looking, a miracle sneaks up on me. I’m not talking about the supernatural kind of miracles but about the super-wonderful kind.

The blanket of white stuff decorated the farm and turned the brown earth into a Christmas showcase. The snow also meant that preparing for our “Christmas on the Farm” event took extra time. In his shiny, new-to-us tractor, husband Bruce cleared away enough snow so guests could park their cars, visit with our critters, and be photographed with Mrs. Claus.

In previous years, Santa sat in the sleigh with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rein-steer (a.k.a. Topper the Scottish Highland steer) standing beside him, but this year Santa was busy, so Mrs. Claus filled in. No one minded. Our own Diane Hersey, dressed as Mrs. Claus, drew a “wow!” from a delighted little girl.

My staff welcomed guests, and the animals stood patiently for selfies with visitors. After three hours of pictures and gobbling the occasional alfalfa cube, Rudolph’s red nose was a soggy mass of cotton, and he was ready to return to his buddies. The animals want to please us but also have their relationships to manage and enjoy. Curious Bleu, the Scottish Highland riding steer, seemed to sigh with relief as he was led back to his pasture.

After the Christmas on the Farm event at Miles Smith Farm, we loaded the trailer with Eleanor the donkey, Dixie, and Pixie the goats, Washington the sheep, Millie the calf, and June, the pregnant cow, to participate in the Living Nativity at Brookside Congregational Church in Manchester. The animals munched hay in front of the manager, where visitors brushed and hugged them.

This was a repeat performance for all the others but was a first for the sheep and 4-month-old Millie, the calf some of you have fed a bottle of milk. All the critters have special powers, but Millie’s superpower was magical that evening. When Rowan, a 14-year-old visitor from Meredith, took Millie’s rope, they dashed off together across the snow-covered lawn. Millie kicked her heels and then jumped two feet in the air as Rowan ran alongside. At the edge of the yard, they both turned in unison, Rowan running and laughing while Millie leaped and bounced beneath the lights on the bushes and trees. Rowan held the lead rope, but Millie never pulled on it. She knew to stay close to her new friend, her soul mate.

Each of the lights had been placed in honor or memory of loved ones, those departed, those we prayed for, or those adored. I watched pure joy as the two shared a moment of youthful freedom running under the lights. Did I see the lights twinkle as they passed?

What is a miracle? Is it something extraordinary that changes a life, or can it be a small moment of beauty and joy? Like a calf running with a child as they release love into the world. Let’s embrace the magical moments. After all, isn’t this the season of miracles?


Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (milessmithfarm.com), in Loudon, N.H., where she sells beef and other local products. She can be reached at carolesoule60@gmail.com.

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