One of the fundamental parts of a secure relationship – or friendship, for that matter – is creating a peaceful space where both people feel comfortable in each other’s presence.
You share light facts about yourself, ask questions, laugh, admire the expansive beauty of the world around you, all whilst watching for the receptivity of your companion. Where a friendship exists, so does a state in which actions speak louder than words.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is what this looks like. Produced by Bad Robot Productions and directed by Peter Baynton for BBC One, the short is adapted from the bestselling picture book by Charlie Mackesy. It uses a loose 2D animated style and took two years to create with its team of 150 in-professionals.
The half-hour journey tells the story of a boy who is lost in the woods, unsure of where his home is or what one looks like. Suddenly, a small mole pops his head out of the snowy ground, and the two begin to interact. From there, they begin their trek through an uninhabited landscape filled with natural wonders. The boy asks the mole a question. The mole replies and makes a statement. The boy acknowledges. They sit and look at the sky, together, without saying a word, but each other’s presence has a humongous impact.
The narrative introduces more characters as it unfolds. The unlikely duo rescue a fox from a snare. He tags alongside them cautiously, having been hurt by life in the past. They later discover a large, white horse, filled with loneliness as he resides amid the withered trees. The four friends are completely different in personality but all share one commonality: being present in the moment, which allows them to receive affection and create enjoyable memories together as they venture towards human settlement.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse shows us the immense power of simple interaction. If you keep your heart open and focus outwards instead of inward, we can make the world a safer place for others who want to engage with us. We do not need to talk about our past. The bad break-up, the trauma you witnessed, even your name – on the surface, whatever is inside you does not matter. At least, not until later. The art of opening up to others emotionally is inessential and comes only when you feel ready to. in the meantime, you can make snow angels, look at your reflection, and sprout wings and fly across the cloudy winter sky, knowing you can let your vulnerabilities show because you are loved.