Auld Lang O’Nine


By now, you are all shoving balls of torn wrapping paper into open boxes – or smoothing out those balls for use next year and breaking the boxes down for recycling. And by now, that Christmas dinner doesn’t look so appetizing, and you’re poking around the covered dishes looking for something less holiday-ish. The cookies have been picked through, and there are only jelly chocolates left in the Whitman’s sampler. Maybe you’ve stopped watering the Christmas tree. You haven’t, have you? Hmm?

The year is nearly over. Then what happens? Yeehaw! A fresh new 2010 calendar is ripped from its smooth thin plastic and the cardboard backer removed. Do you look at all the pictures before hanging? Or do you just scan the thumbnails on the back and hang it, wanting to be surprised on the first of every month? Do you sit down and write in all the family birthdays in careful block print? I can tell if you do – appointments and notes are always scribbled in sideways, hurried handwriting. But those first, most important dates are given time and consideration on the first opening of the new calendar. Penmanship counts on the ones that count.

I always clean out a cabinet or two on the first day of the year. I guess it’s my way of telling the cosmos I want to leave the cobwebs and crumbs and dead batteries behind in the old year, and start fresh, smelling like Murphy’s Oil Soap and citrus water. And by cleaning, I can see what I have accumulated and put things in order again. It’s a gesture of cleansing, of renewal and preparation for the days ahead.

I am so grateful for the many lessons that have come my way this year:

I moved to Vermont late last year and celebrated alone on New Year’s Eve, throwing imaginary confetti in instant messages to other friends who were alone in other states. The lesson: friends don’t have to be close by to offer good energy and love.

In February, I turned 50 years old and celebrated! It wasn’t a bad thing: the number 5 means change and transition. I had no idea just how true that would be: a few days later I was standing in front of a screen, looking at a mammogram of my left breast. The mass that looked back at me looked just like the face of Tina Turner, and so it was dubbed. The task began to roll her right on down the river!

I won’t get into the details, because now, it’s just a story. But I want to tell you that I am so grateful for the people I met along the path. I met incredible doctors who went to the edge, and were willing to think outside the traditional medical box for a solution we could all be comfortable with. I found a way to embrace the treatments we agreed on, and stand strong on the ones I was not able to embrace. To all the doctors, nurses, naturopaths, alternative health personnel, and other staff members, those who opened their minds and those who didn’t, I am grateful for the lessons that we were all a part of, and for the time we had together. And I am very glad to announce, Tina is gone. Thanks TT, it was real.

Friends and family helped in so many ways this year. They fed me, clothed me, entertained me, bought herbal supplements, sent coffee, movies, and totems, dog-sat, did errands for me – even paid bills. I received daily doses of healing energy, reiki, thoughts, prayers, and good wishes from those who were far away – I felt every bit of it. Silly happened along the way: funny scars, the realization that I have a not-so-perfectly shaped head, a brief time period after chemo where I could actually drink milk and not get sick (but at the same time was unable to stomach chocolate), lots of dancing, a great trip to the Smokies with an amazing and sweet soul, happy dances, shared laughter on the phone with friends all over the world, snow angels in parking lots, towel animals, and so much more. There are too many people to list here – but they all played a part in the healing. I learned to receive, and I am grateful for that lesson.

My dog, Fae, became a clown to help me laugh, a wolf to protect me, and a therapist to offer a warm head and a cold nose during the longest of long nights.

Even the mounting bills have been a lesson. Although I have always been good at cutting corners, I learned to cut even more. As a part of that snipping and clipping process , I am heading up north for a few months to a smaller place – my inner Huck Finn exploring new territory, looking for a barrel that might fit for the time being. Bennington is still home base, and my earthly possessions are staying here, but I’m off on another side road to meet new people and float down more rivers. It’s a good thing – the universe likes action, and riding the river is always better than pushing it!

To 2009 and all its players, to Mother Earth and all her gifts, thank you. You rocked! To 2010, I’m ready for my pie. Let the fun begin!


4 responses »

  1. Me, too. I’m glad you beat breast cancer. Filter your water, watch out for soy. I’m not an expert, but I’m learning. Check out the MA Breast Cancer Coalition which created Silent Spring Institute. 50 isn’t so bad. I’ve got a decade on you. I hope you like Vermont. I’ve heard it’s a great place to live.

    • Alexandra, thanks! I have hovered near Vermont for several years, in NY homes literally within steps of the Vermont state line. I finally crossed the line – although many would say I did that long ago! 🙂

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