What a backyard visitor says to me about the new year

I enjoy rounding the bend from one year to the next.  On New Year’s Eve Aimee and I accompanied the girls on a brief tour of the Rose Parade route along Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. When the famed New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses finally passes, a minimum of 1,000,000 people will line the route.

Motorhomes, with parking sites reserved a year in advance, provide optimum comfort, I suppose, but the diehards, the street campers with their portable Aero-beds and standing fire pits amuse me. We live close enough to the parade route to hear the crowd yelling “Happy New Year” as midnight passes into a new year.

I enjoy rolling over and going back to sleep.

We slowed our pace this Christmas season. I immersed in cooking and baking and didn’t let other things interfere. We made way for a small family party on the 23rd, when Santa comes down our street in his yearly fire truck parade.

We even managed to find time on Aimee’s birthday, Christmas Eve, for a four-generation visit with Mary Poppins Returns, and still had time for a nice family birthday party.

And we traveled later Christmas Day with a beautiful coastal trip up to enjoy our Oakland family for a few days.

And I was amazed that I didn’t feel stressed. I think that’s a first! Actually, I know it is.

I learned something valuable that will follow me into 2019.

The key was downshifting into slow mode. Not getting faster and trying to fill in more gaps, but s-l-o-w…

There was no magic.

I moved about my day with only one intention, and that was to enjoy it.  What a novel thought!

I don’t set new year resolutions. Not specifically, anyway, but  I do appreciate and honor fresh perspectives when I have them.

And the title to my post is key for me this year.

A day or so before Christmas we looked out the kitchen window and saw a heron–or is it an egret–or a crane…

My best guess is he’s an egret, which is really just a type of heron. He was on a fishing expedition in our back pond.

And he returned again on New Year’s Eve.

I do have dozens of photos, but I assume you’re not interested in each one, but here he is in flight.  As the past takes flight, what do I carry with me into 2019?

Longevity and Good Luck are two symbolic meanings associated with a heron, but perhaps meaning more to me at this time is inviting calm, grace, tranquility, and being present. 

I think you’ll agree with me that it’s noisy and often chaotic “out there.” Opinions and diatribes, insincerity and duplicity, even hatefulness abounds, but I don’t want to participate.

And I think Mr. Heron, or whatever his beautiful species happens to be, is reminding me that I can carry the peacefulness I have felt this season, with me going forward.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

I hope something mystical and generative is speaking to you, too. Maybe this can be a year of less chatter and deeper listening.

To each person reading this post I hope for a healthy and peace-filled 2019.

That is my most sincere wish.

Cheers! Debra