What does a stable sound like, in the still sharp air of not-yet-morning?
It sounds like rustling feathers and shifting weight, like bated breath and bladed wonder, like the purring of a vixen over her cubs and the cooing of doves and the deep-chest thrum of a dragon older than the hills this stable is nestled in. It sounds like the echo of angelic song just beyond hearing, and it sounds like the low-sung love of a mother’s humming.
What does a stable smell like, in the clean frozen wind of not-quite-morning?
It smells like crushed straw and churned earth, like fur and forest leaves and musk. It smells like hope, a clean fresh distilled breeze that lungs are aching for, gasping for, suffocating for. It smells like starlight trickling through dusty rafters, and it smells like blood and new life.
What does a stable taste like, in the empty sky of almost-there-morning?
It tastes like awe and fear thick in the air, curled in every breath, sweet and sharp and heavy on the tongue. It tastes like dizzy love, heady intoxicating words resting on the tip of the tongue, too shy to fall out into the taut air. It tastes like dust and halos.
What does a stable feel like, in the still-dark still-cold hour of barely-not-morning?
It feels like tentative truce, like flank pressed to flank and the warmth of breath steaming on the air. It feels like fluttering, like a thousand thousand souls that cannot be here are not-quite-brushing minds with every gathered thing packed together. It feels like the first sunshine of spring, hot on skin.
What does a stable look like, in the knife-edge moment-before-dawn?
It looks like slanted shaky roof and staggered door and poverty. It looks like the shifting sea, every color of feather-fur-scale-skin. It looks like the beating heart of the world, wrapped in rough cloth and tucked away in the hay. It looks like Hope, and it looks like Love Incarnate.