12.31.14 I went down to the water to capture the last of the light in the sky for 2014. Still so very cold, it was painful to have my mitten off to press the button on top of the camera. An unsettling anxiety had made me tearful, and fragile, all day long. I don’t know…the letdown after family visiting; another year closing down; the mental review of the past going through my head. Maybe we participate in the grand hoopla of New Year’s Eve parties because the last day of the year is actually kinda hard.
Both of the kitties made their way down to the water’s edge by gingerly stepping in my big boot footprints, and they kept me company, while I stood still and listened. A flock of Bohemian Waxwings fluttered out of a tree and flew into the woods. I heard the familiar whoosh of an eagle’s wings before I saw him fly low over my head. And, I heard the wild geese at the north end of the lake, and watched in wonder–as I always do–when they flew by over the water in front of me, silhouetted by glowing shafts of 2014’s final sunset, streaming through the clouds. “You do not have to be good” Mary Oliver gently reminds us. And, so we go into a new year.
Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.