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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Yes I will.
Who will lead?
We’ll take turns.
You go first.
But it’s winter.
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.
Then let’s dance in the sunlight
that shines on us now
even though the air
is still frosty.
Bring me light
Bring me joy
Bring blue sky
Help me ring in the New Year with gladness.
Make me silly
Make me strong
Make me giddy
Make me wrong
to sit too long at my desk without playing.
Help me laugh
Help me sing
Help me flap my strong wings
Help me land on my feet
Please stand with me each day,
Mr. New Year.
May I count my own growth rings
this year as I change.
May I remember to bow
and say thank you.
May I take time to dance
and play with my friends.
And sing wondrous songs with my soul.*
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: