Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

new year

Frohes Neues Jahr (Happy New Year)!

Good morning new year.

Great guy and I spent a moving last evening of the year in the presence of someone who is at the end of her life and another who is newly at the beginning of hers.  We were with great guy's great friend, great friend's girlfriend, and das baby.  Das baby is brand new, 6 weeks new, and in missing my small friend's from home, I crave time holding her.  This small, new family is in the impossible process of saying goodbye to his mother.  Great friend's mother, from all accounts, is a remarkable woman who is dearly loved by her son, her husband, and many others.  That there are many people who are thinking about her and wanting to support this family was clear by the stacks of clean, Tupperware containers piled at the front entrance, each with a bright, yellow, sticky note showing the name of the meal provider.

Great friend's mother, lives with her husband, in an old mill, high up in the, currently, snow-covered hills.  Huge beams dissect the house at every angle, at every height and in every room, making people who are already prone to banging their heads, exercise extreme caution while walking throughout the house.  Looking at photos of the couple hanging on the walls, I found myself wanting to know this person, with the bright, warm eyes, but knowing that I probably never would.  She remained upstairs.

After a filling fondue together and precious baby time, those of us gathered at the dining table realized that the celebrations of the new year would be missing one guest.  She was too ill to partake in any way.  Throughout the evening I was continuously struck by the juxtaposition of a new life and an ending life playing out in this warmly lit house.  And it, even now, brings me to tears.  We all pass through these two extremes.  Why is it not easier?  Why so much pain on both ends of life?

Great guy and I left the mill after eleven, with hearts and stomachs heavy, and headed to an Adam's Family-themed party; though neither one of us was really in a party mood.  Great guy kissed me at midnight and said "Happy Birthday".  And, amidst the drama of fireworks and sparklers, surrounded by morticias, zombies, and other such costumed friends, we stepped into the new year.

Wishing you and your family lots of love, good health, and cherished experiences in 2011.

I leave you with an excerpt from the poem What to Remember When Waking by David Whyte:

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the waiting desk?
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