" What a wonderful thought it is that some of the
best days of our lives haven't even happened yet. "
I had full intentions to write a post during the Christmas week. I meant to chat about the holidays and share from the stack of books I've been reading, but here it is already New Year's Eve with post unwritten. Christmas, though different, was lovely. The days following have passed quietly and pleasantly in our household. We ate Christmas leftovers, nibbled on delicious cookies and other treats, had Scrabble tournaments for two, went for walks, read our books, watched movies....
"When fog invades the plains,
everything disappears; everything but fog!
When loves invades the minds,
everything disappears; everything but love!"
MEHMET MURAT ILDAN, Turkish Author and Playwright
We even took a drive one foggy morning to the nearby Elk Island National Park. Families were out with their kids, suited in ski pants and Covid masks. 'Twas delightful to watch them sledding down the hill, hurrying back up to soar down again. I felt a gush of nostalgia as I watched and remembered my own happy childhood tobogganing in the deep winter till we were frozen like popsicles yet not wanting to quit. The memory was so fresh in my mind, I felt in want of hot cocoa when we got home, even though my toes weren't the frozen ones.
We thought we might spot some bison out there, but they and every other wild creature were absent in full force. Rick figured they'd booked off Christmas and 'to heck with the tourists'. Perhaps they hunkered down somewhere because of the fog. I loved being in the midst of the foggy foggy dew—I was enchanted by the feeling of other-worldliness. As soon as I saw that lone tree (above), I knew I had to capture it against the muted shroud of grey—its bent trunk speaking of endurance through seasons of wild storms, wind battered but still standing. To me, it's a perfect picture for the storm our world has endured in 2020. As a child, I would have found such a picture utterly bleak, stark, and lonely, one that was to be avoided for something brighter and cozier. But I have since come to recognize there is a wild beauty in starkness. And rather than shun it, I embrace it in the moment. I'm sure Mary Oliver would have said that more poetically.
* * *
As we breathe the last few hours of this horrid virus-tossed year, I think of something Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote: "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier'... ."
Oh yes, we hope it will indeed be a happier year. For so many though, all the wishing won't make the intense pain go away, and I am so sorry it is so. I just read something Canadian singer Jann Arden wrote on her Facebook page about grieving her mom. The day she posted, it was two years since her beloved mom passed away after years of suffering with Alzheimer's. Jann shared how she missed her, but said....
"I don't mind the grief. It's like an aftershock of love. I don't mind missing her and dad. I don't mind the pangs or the jabs or the throbbing aches that stretch across the muscles in my chest. I just don't mind it. It's lovely in its own way. Makes me keep trying to live."
Those lines speak to me....that she doesn't mind the grief, that it's like an aftershock of love, that it reminds her to keep trying to live. I am not sure why that gives me comfort, but it does. I'm not grieving personally for anyone at the moment, and I'm not in a sad place for myself—life is sweet and good for me these days—but I do find myself carrying in my heart the pain of others, for the folks who have lost their lives and those who lost loved ones and remain in their now-shattered world. I so hope and pray they will one day find a measure of peace and comfort and eventually discover new reasons to face their futures less bleakly. A little bit happier.
As we stand on the front porch of this brand new year, I am grateful for your company as we share this journey together. I remind myself and you, should you need it, to keep watching for those glimpses of heaven glimmering with hope that 'beyond the pain, life continues to be sweet' (Rosamunde Pilcher). Facing the New Year with still so much uncertainty and trepidation, we must take 'courage, dear hearts' (C.S. Lewis).
Happy New Year! And in the words of a dear old neighbour who was wont to say when the world felt decidedly upside down, "Here's to better days ahead." That's my heart wish for you in 2021!
(Top) Image by Mary Gorobchenko from Pixabay
(Middle) Tree in Fog by Brenda C Leyland
(Bottom) Image by Hans Benn from Pixabay