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Before I could welcome the New Year
I had goodbyes to say
and thank yous to pray,
and rare sunshine showed up to take notice.

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Goodbye was due to my old friend Doug Fir,
whose last wish was I dance on his growth rings.
His rings tallied up drought and the raining disasters
that helped him grow tall and yet taller.

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Before my goodbyes my knees buckled and bent.
Long skinny shadows suggested forgiveness I seek
for too many days through too many years
tucked under a desk, life ignoring.

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As penance and promise when I welcome the New Year,
I will measure the width of your growth rings, Doug Fir.
I will witness your years with the breadth of a hug
that tugs my heart wide, wide, wide open.

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Take a deep breath now, I said to myself,
and I shifted my sorrow to solace.
Will you dance with me now, Mr. New Year? I asked.
Will you honor my friend
who is gone?

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Yes I will.
Who will lead?

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We’ll take turns.
You go first.
Spring leads.
Summer follows.

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But it’s winter.

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As I welcome the New Year
I will dance in the darkness
deep down in my heart
I will welcome the shade
and the cold.

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Then let’s dance in the sunlight
that shines on us now
even though the air
is still frosty.

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Bring me lightDSC_0901

Bring me joy
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Bring friendship
DSC_0899Bring blue sky

Help me ring in the New Year with gladness.

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Make me silly
Make me strong
Make me giddy

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Make me wrong
to sit too long at my desk without playing.

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Help me laugh

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Help me sing
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Help me flap my strong wingsDSC_0979

Help me land on my feet DSC_0950

Please stand with me each day,
Mr. New Year.

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May I count my own growth rings
this year as I change.

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May I remember to bow
and say thank you.

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May I take time to dance
and play with my friends.

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And sing wondrous songs with my soul.*

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Thanks for dancing with me, Mr. New Year!
~ You’re welcome! ~

*Big thanks to my friend Alan Claassen for permission to put his wondrous song in this video:

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{Spoiler alert: There’s a movie at the end.}

The first step of an adventure…

The first step of an adventure

combines peril with pause
and a push…

And a push

Your heart pounds a bit
like the waves rolling in

The waves rolling in

You must remember to breathe.

Remember to breathe

Lean in, use your legs
and don’t mind the spectators
sitting like the rocks that they are
wishing they had your verve and your nerve.

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Pray for strength and strong rope.

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Hope your ballast means balance

Whirlpools

Wish on the whirlpools
and wait for the waves…

And plunge into the waves
Push! Kick! Jump!
Off you go!

The clouds part

Clouds part.
Sun comes out.

You’re now on your way.

Add some friends.

Pick up some buddies,
Take turns being guide.

Set your course

Set your course
See the sights

Salute the seaweed and mermaids below.

See seaweed    More seaweed

 Enjoy sailing

Engage your reflection
in fun conversation

Who knows what she sees from her side.

Enjoy being afloat

Enjoy being afloat.
Race the clouds.
Race the whales.
Raise your sails, in spirit at least.

Go ashore

Ahoy there!
There’s land.
An uncharted island.

Let's go explore.

Let’s go explore.
Stow your boat.

Say farewell

Say farewell to the shells
who began to get seasick
and are glad to land back on the sand.

So long for now

So long for now.

16-bye-bye

It’s time for adventure on land
(after Old Driftwood tells me a story).

See you next time!

I’ll send a postcard!


P.S. Here’s a glimpse of our ocean adventure in motion.

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My shadow snuck up on me

I was just standing there
enjoying the view
breathing in the salt air
when I felt a presence behind me
breathing out.

I froze for a second
afraid of what I might find.

I turned suddenly

I spun around
and said “Ha!”
as if to surprise the intruder.
And I saw it was me.
“Ha!” my shadow said back
unsurprised
and happy to see me
face to face.

Hello old friend

Hello, old friend
she said to me
and I said to her
in the same breath.

Shall we dance?

Shall we dance?

She whistled a tune
while we danced a jig
and laughed when
I tripped over my toes
and almost fell into the tide.

Let's go explore

Oh, I’ve missed you!
Where have you been?

Here. As always.
You forget to listen
for my whispers,
she said without hurt.
Life gets loud, doesn’t it?
she said with compassion.

And then, to change the subject
and get back to some fun,
she said,
Let’s go on an adventure…

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As we peered round the corner
seeing where to go next
we drew close enough to swap secrets.
Nearly one as shadow and light
but not quite.

I love sunny days.

Last dance

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In honor of the day you were born
I went to the beach
that’s across the Sound from where you were born.

The Sound splashed celebration
while I made you this cake
and the sunshine made wishes.

Make a wish

 

 

We wished you were here.

We're having a party

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

 

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It was still sunny the next day

when my friends showed up on the steps

to play with our new pal.

On the steps in the sunshine

 

I began introductions.

First the 3 wish rocks

First, meet the 3 wish rocks.

The brothers Cairnmotzov.

The Brothers Cairnmotzov
whose dream is to be a balancing act in the circus.

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Seaweed Sam.
Who couldn’t stay long because of the sun.
He didn’t want to dry out so we threw him back in the sea in a sec.

Ripple-shelltskin

Rumpleshelltskin,
a shard of his former self but whole nonetheless,
with a great sense of humor.

The Claw

And “The Claw”
a retired world-class wrestler who still likes to tease the kids.

All in good fun, of course.

shell meets stones

Shy shell said hello.

Nice to meet you.

The Cairnmotzov Brothers were too polite to mention
the shred of seaweed stuck to his lip.

what to do?

We sat and talked awhile. Mostly small talk. Getting to know you kind of stuff.
Then I asked,

What should we do?

I did not expect what happened next.

They wanted to play the “clowns in a Volkswagen game”
and I couldn’t stop them.

The three little stones piled inside first.

what happened next

The waves applauded.

Suddenly it seems I had met a whole new creature.

Friends for Life.

It was astounding how they formed themselves a troupe.

The Brothers Cairnmotzov called their agent to see if together
all six of them might apply for the circus.

I haven’t heard from them since.

Keep an eye out for them, will you?

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 The other day I was down at the beach at low tide.

I’d been talking to seaweed and jellyfish
When I saw him half submerged in the rocks.

Well, not so much submerged as laying there with a mouth full of sand.

Washed up on the beach

So I went over and introduced myself

And asked if he wanted a hand.

So I went over an introduced myself

 I wish I could spell the sound of a shell spitting sand from it’s mouth.
I gave him a shake and he was clearing his throat.

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He coughed and he sputtered and was about to say thanks

when

Oooops!

Ooops

I wish I could spell the sound of a shell hitting sand.  I didn’t mean to drop him.

Slippery little sand feller.

I’m so sorry!

Let’s just a sit a minute.

Ahhhh.

Warm sand. The sound of soft ocean waves.

Shhhh.

There now. That’s better.

Let's just sit a minute

So once we had rested a bit, I suggested we go.

Let me take you up to the stairs
where we can see more of the sights.

Let's go up to the stairs

I know. It’s a great view from here.

Yeah, I come here a lot. I love these old steps.

Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to my friends.

We’re going to have such a good time…

 

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Played hopscotch at the dock last night.

Note to Self: Always bring sidewalk chalk with the picnic supplies.

Playing hopscotch on the dock

And don’t forget the marshmallows.

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