I woke early the first day. Perhaps it was the thunderous thump that shook the walls of the snow covered house; convinced a bear had hurtled through the downstairs window, I sprang up and searched the house for disturbance. Finding none, I instinctively checked on my son; although 13, I still follow my maternal tug for ensuring he’s still breathing.
Uncovered and in 55 degrees, he must have thrown himself against the wall searching for warmth. I kissed his forehead, pulled the flannel-encased down comforter back over his long body, and quietly closed the door.
The downstairs was dark and quiet, the glow of the porch light hitting the snow providing the only illumination. Quietly, I began to greet the new year with candle and coffee, journal and thoughts.
It wasn’t enough. I”m approaching the fifth day of being stuck on the couch, felled with the teacher’s curse of sickness on vacation. Self-pity set in. Frustration. Disappointment. Lonliness. Blame. Pessimism. Despair.
This is not the way to spend New Year’s morning. Yet, I just couldn’t feel it-the optimism I knew everyone else was waking up with..
Mired in my thoughts, I glanced out the window for direction. The sun, beginning to glow through the trees, tempted me. I should walk to the lake, but it’s 5 degrees outside. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next weekend. There’s always another sunrise.
Turning to Facebook, I stumbled on Susan Tweit’s essay, Learning Forgiveness, and this quote about her dog, Isis:
“ Still, Isis was simply happy: to be in the world, to take walks and eat three meals a day, to snooze on her cozy bed. Her friendly good nature was so obvious that her beauty, not the scars she would carry for life, was the first thing people noticed when they met her.”
I need to be the person my dog thinks I am. I need to walk out the door.
My snow boots crunched on the icy road as I cautiously made my way down to the lake. Simple tributes to children’s joy caught my eye, and reminded me of my own son, who had spent the dusk hours of New Years Eve tumbling around in the snow alone, creating his own happiness.
I knew what I would see: the sun was up, the sky blue. I’d already missed the dawn, I chided myself. I’ve greeted nearly 27 new years here. The snow still kept the gate ajar. The path still offered entrance, although showed signs of many travelers in the last few days.
But I was wrong. As I crossed the slight knoll, the lake appeared unlike I’ve ever seen it-at first, I thought I was dreaming. The mist swirled over the buoys like a magical cauldron the waves lapped rhythmically, despite not a breath of wind. And it was silent.
To experience this with me, watch the video:
I was alone, but what beauty, what strength, what power was before me. No one else was witness to this spectacle, only me, only because I walked through the door.
I let go. Fresh energy pumped through me. I can start anew. Today. I leaned forward, let go of the past, and forgave myself in the image of the rising sun.
And it felt glorious.