A good thing it is to end the calendar year like this, pale winter sunlight falling across a much loved river in the Lanark highlands and lighting up the snowdrifts and old willows on the other side. Ice is slow in forming, for the river is an old one, and her currents run fast and free. She's a wild goddess, a veritable crone among rivers, not the slightest bit intimidated by winter weather and subzero temperatures - she will resist freezing over completely as long as she is able to draw breath and taunt the season with her impetuous winding ways.
After the river freezes over, I stand and listen as she sings her way along under the ice, and she often seems to be singing a duet with the wind. There's a kind of Zen counterpoint between the two wild voices, two unbridled entities utterly independent in their contours and rhythm, but meticulously interwoven and seamless in their soaring harmonies.
Putting all notions of complex orchestration and liquid choreography aside, there's lovely music in the air on icy winter days by the shore. The sound of moving water has always been a leitmotif for me, and I often think that life can be measured in rivers and currents rather than cocktails, jewelry, pairs of shoes and coffee spoons. The thought of the river singing her way along under the ice is a comfort later in the long white season, and it seems right to be here on the last day of the year.
In springtime, I watched as the river overflowed her banks and published her claim to the fertile fields on both sides. In early summer, I counted bales of hay, photographed deer and wild turkeys feeding along her curving shoreline, watched the sun go down through the trees. It has only been a month or two since I sat here and cried my eyes out after learning that not one, but two people I love, had passed beyond the fields we know, not at the same time, but within a few days of each other. Not so long ago, I parked here for hours and tried to collect my thoughts after learning that an imperative medical treatment had stopped working. True to form, I wasn't really worried about expiring (I knew I would be back in some form or other), but I was stressed out from a thousand tests and hospital visits and was certain that I would be journeying beyond this realm as mad as a hatter. The river worked her magic, and I am still wandering about on this plane, but it could be reasonably argued that I have been more than a little peculiar ever since.
Bliadhna mhath urb (Scottish), ath bhliain faoi mhaise (Irish) or blwyddyn newydd dda (Welsh). Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for sharing the blogging journey with me this year. May there be joy and health and sweet abundance in your life in the months to come. May all good things come to you!