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.
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.
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.