Bittersweet sigh of the heart

New year rising...

New Year’s Eve arises like a soft hush, a bittersweet sigh of the heart.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot…

Dawn refuses to paint the horizon in stained-glass reds and pinks and oranges until after 8:15 a.m. in this far cusp of the Eastern Time Zone on this last day of December.

It’s dark, dark outside at 6:20 a.m. when the internal alarm clock beckons through the fog of wispy half-dreams.

Bittersweet endings

We brew New York organic farm coffee and sip it slowly on the couch, greeting this, the last day of 2011.  Christmas lights still twinkle, a long strand weaving multi-colored holiday sparkles above our picture window overlooking the dark woods.  Our lone ceramic tree still heralds its gold lights.  Over there in the kitchen, a red strand decks the sink, highlighting last night’s unwashed dishes.

Barry and I sip brew and talk.

That New Year’s Eve feeling lingers in my heart, like a forgotten friend.  Ahhh, you.  We meet again.  Shall we meet on every New Year’s Eve day until the colored lights finally extinguish?

How can I describe this New Year’s Eve feeling?  Maybe you’ve felt it, too.  It’s a bittersweet sadness which isn’t really sad.  It’s almost anticipatory, but still lingers in the current year.  The heart aches, but almost welcomes the ache.  The feeling says goodbye, but whispers it softly, so softly, that the deer wandering among the trees do not hear.


It has to do with the knowing that the lights will be boxed tomorrow–or the next day–the tree returned to its white plastic bag in the food room.  The Santa candle, still unburned six years after a child from the school gifted it, will snuggle into crackly newspaper for the next eleven months.  The delightful Christmas carols–classical mix from Pandora, mind you–will cease their bells and harps and angelic voices and even Bing Crosby from another Pandora channel will quit crooning.

It’s beginning to look a lot like 2012.  Almost.

If you travel east through snow-dusted rolling meadows, pausing briefly by cow pastures to pat sturdy black-and-white backs, soaring above craggy mountains, following loops of car-studded highways, aiming toward silver towers teasing the sky, you’ll find our youngest child celebrating her 26th year, her more-than-a-quarter-century on this planet. 

Happy beautiful birthday, Kiah.

Amazing discoveries await us

Years ago, barely older than she, with a Santa-belly filled with child, I selfishly prayed the baby to begin its travels through the birth canal on New Year’s Eve, please, please, so I don’t ever, ever, have to attend another New Year’s Eve party in my life.

The baby thought about it for a few minutes and dove down, prepared to leave the nest before the New Year revelry.  She emerged red-faced and healthy, all toes and fingers accounted for, a newborn human fish learning to breathe.  Everyone squalls at first breath, don’t they, the indignity of lungs?  (Except my first-born who breathed like he expected to breathe and proceeded to interestedly watch the delivery room like an old man returned to earth.)

When you meditate, you realize that every breath is your first breath and every breath is your last breath, and yet they continue on, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day, the lungs filling with life and releasing fully before the ball drops yet again and the glasses clink together and another child is born, whether as a physical baby or a project or a dream sprouting wings and ready to burst into January sky.

I wish you many pleasant surprises in 2012.  May your heart grow two sizes this year.  May you understand even sweeter the path of your soul.  May you delight in both black-and-white and color.  May you resolve to follow where your deepest heart leads, through darkness and light, through song and sorrow, through births and deaths, through confusion and the never-ending joy of the next sacred and precious moment.

Unexpected bouquets of color for you in 2012

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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49 Responses to Bittersweet sigh of the heart

  1. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy ♥
    I am feeling much of these same feelings this New Years Eve day…a quiet, almost melancholy feeling. Thank you for the wishes for the New Year…may it bring all the same, wonderful things to you too. Along with strength and perseverance, quiet peace in your heart and warm feelings of love. ♥
    I’m watching the weather today…we’re under a wind advisory and a winter storm warning. Very strong winds with blowing and drifting snow so I am already worrying about friends and family being out on the road during this night of celebrations. I’ll be sending up prayers for all their safety and protection tonight and tomorrow.
    Please tell Kiah Happy Happy Birthday 🙂
    My Christmas decorations are all still up…I always hate to pack them away.
    Happy New Years Eve Kathy! ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Kiah was so happy to see all these wonderful birthday wishes. Is it snowing there today? We’ve had maybe four inches, but they are predicting up to a foot. Winter storm warning, too. Stay safe and warm, Brenda.

  2. Dawn says:

    Kathy what a beautiful post. Thank you for the years of beauty you have shared with me through your writings and photos. Blessings in 2012.

  3. Susan Derozier says:

    Ah Kathy – You’ve done it again! I just took a break from taking down all holiday decorations and found you here to greet me. You say it all so beautifully in describing that “in between” mood I find myself experiencing. Now it all makes sense…in with the new and out with the old. Listening to Jackie Evancho and reading your words with their photo enhancement….it doesn’t get much better than this. Happy New Year to you and Barry and Happy Birthday to Kiah! Hugs to all!

  4. Sybil says:

    Kathy, your words are poetry, weaving pictures that go far deeper than the visual world.

    I will share a link to your post with all my friends, as my New Year’s gift to them.

    Peace, Hope and Love.

  5. Dawn says:

    Happy birthday to Kiah! I’m sure you’re wishing you were there to celebrate it with her.

    I’ve never been a fan of New Year Eve parties. I’m not that comfortable being out with a lot of people late into the night, especially if they’re not all close friends. Plus I hardly ever stay up that late anyway! I’m much happier here at home, if I make it till midnight, well, good…if not, that’s OK too.

    Thanks for the year of sharing thoughts and photos! I look forward to visiting your site next year too!

    -Dawn K

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, Kiah and I must have spoken six times on the phone yesterday! It felt like we were not apart. (Glad to hear you’re a fellow stay-at-homer-on-New-Years-Eve.) Did you make it til midnight last night? I didn’t!

  6. Carol says:

    I sit here in my morning place, sharing my space with the furry girls, watching dawn play with the hilltops, the sun slowly considering its appearance, not realizing this will be the last time I will have this experience in 2011. Until I read your post, which has awakened in me a bit of nostalgia for for past year-endings and hope for the new year. I wish for you enough in this coming year.

  7. Such a beautiful post!
    Happy Birthday to Kiah, and all the best to you and your family for 2012!

  8. Karma says:

    Beautful words with fun photos to illustrate. How apropos that you found the universe picture for how often you’ve discussed with us all that the universe has to offer. Along with the many photography blogs that I have learned from this year, I credit you, Kathy, with helping my mind to “see” better, and maybe to understand a little better when the universe is dropping me a little hint! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Want to know a teeny-tiny secret, Karma? The Universe photo was hiding in my 2009 outdoor blog! I just re-discovered it. I am honored if any of my words echoed the Universe in your soul…

  9. P.j. grath says:

    I know the feeling, Kathy, though I’m not having it this year, all tingly as I am with my 2012 project to begin so soon. (Perhaps tomorrow?) Still, I loved your post today–the thoughts, the images (both visual and verbal), the idea of each breath being first and last and yet going on. Happy new year to you and your family, my faraway blogging friend!

    • Kathy says:

      I am feeling tingly with possibilities today too, Pamela! Must scurry over and see if you’ve posted yet. I am glad you enjoyed this. Happy New Year to you!

  10. Marianne says:

    Happy New Year, Kathy. I’ve enjoyed following your blog immensely and I look forward to continuing the journey together. All the best in 2012! 🙂

  11. Susan D. says:

    This is just …. lovely.

    Happy Birthday to Kiah, and glorious New Year to the whole family. Love you.

  12. Such beautiful writing, Kathy. The rhythm of your prose almost takes my breath away–so, so lovely!

    Happy New Year to you and Barry–and happy birthday to Kiah!


  13. susan says:

    Wow, that was awesome Kathy! I love the “may your heart grow two sizes this year”! I think in years past I was more philosophical about the actual date and new calendar etc. than I am now. I do meditate and I try to stay very present moment. I look back only to see if I’ve come as far as I’d wanted to in certain things – then I use that quick glimpse to recalculate and reset the compass for the forward journey.

    I wish you and yours much peace, love and good health for 2012! I’ve enjoyed reading you blog a LOT – even though I don’t comment on them all the time.

    Holiday Hugs

    • Kathy says:

      I think my heart has maybe grown a milli-second of an inch already, SuZen! LOL. Joining you in re-setting the compass with joy and fortitude and knowing that all is really very very well, even though appearances can tell other stories. I love your holiday hug!

  14. Robin says:

    This is so beautiful I don’t want to disturb the peace your brought by commenting other than to let you know I was here and to wish you joy in the new year.

  15. john says:

    Bless you Kathy, thank you for being there for us. A very Happy New Year, may you and Barry achieve all your hearts desire.

  16. Kathy – In 2012 I wish that your every dream comes true; that you find yourself surrounded by friends, laughter, and good times; that your every cup runneth over financially, romantically, spiritually, and creatively; that good health be your faithful companion, peace your guarded ally, and love your perpetual guide.

  17. Kiah says:

    Mom, thanks for such a beautiful post. And thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes! Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2012!

    • Kathy says:

      Kiah, dear sweet, I am so glad you paused here with your thanks! It was delightful talking with you–how many times was it yesterday–a hundred? LOL! Happy birthday once again!

  18. Colleen says:

    Happy New Year Kathy. My heart fills with many things as I read this. It is such a tender time of the year, these first moments……

    The best of all wishes and much love to you. And Happy Birthday Kiah!

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, it’s a grand New Year’s gift to find your words here today. Wishing you tender new growth and all sorts of love coming in all sorts of surprise packages for 2012!

  19. Teri Jacklyn says:

    THis is wonderful! I love to read your writing!

  20. Barb says:

    I came by to wish you one (or many) good thing(s) in 2012 and will go away with a smile on my face from the gift of your New Year’s post. I only wish you had photographed the dirty dishes. (But, I suppose it’s good to leave something to the reader’s imagination.) I celebrate Kiah on this first day of the New Year!

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, the dirty dishes??? Really, would you have liked to view them? **grin** I don’t think I could have born to display that… It is thrilling to see you again. I hope you had wonderful holidays!

  21. Dana says:

    I don’t even feel like tarnishing this post with a comment– It was breathtaking!
    I hope Kiah had a wonderful birthday, and I wish everyone in your family a 2012 full of possibilities and trust. Once again, I’m so thankful to have found your blog… through you! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dana, I loved how this post wrote itself. I’ll bet you’ve had blogs write themselves and you looked back and shook your head in amazement at what it had to say. Glad we’re new friends.

  22. I don’t ever think I will see another New Years Eve in the same light after reading this, Kathy. It’s simply beautiful.

    Happy Birthday to Kiah, and may your family continue to share and enjoy each other throughout 2012, and many more new years to come

  23. Somehow I always assumed you were in the Central Time Zone – my goodness, this puts a whole new light on my image of you!

    Thank you for the heartfelt New Year’s Wishes, and for the pleasure I’ve had reading your inspiring blog. Wishing you a creative and joyful New Year, too. All changes bring a mixture of challenges and blessings… *hugs*

    A belated Happy Birthday to Kiah! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Nope, we are Easterners, just like you! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, Barbara. You know how much I love the gentle wise words and lovely photographs on your blog, as well. Knowing well about those challenges and blessings… Happy New Year to you as well. (This may be the last time I say those words, do you think?)

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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