Saturday, December 31, 2011

At the End of the Year

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!


One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Cate, as I began to read "I smiled" as I continued I wept.
All your emotions seemed to surface in this old woman at the edge of the woods. Why miles apart have I always sensed a deep connection with you and I much further down our path?
I wish you happiness, health, safety and peace as you continue your journey.

Hilaire said...

Thank you for a lovely post, Cate. I can hear the river singing under the ice even though, here in Wales, it is misty - Welsh wizard's weather my friend used to call it - with a light rain and the rosemary has been deceived by the mildness this year to blossom with pale blue flowers...

May your song long continue to ring out under ice and other burdens and may this year bring you healing and comfort and inspiration.

Blwyddyn newydd dda i ti!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog, with its daily gifts of beauty, perspective, and peace. What blessings you shower on your happy readers.

Happy new year, with gratitude.

Debbie said...

What a lovely post! I am here, sitting with you in awe of Mama Gaia's :) beautiful music. Also grateful for her gift to you of describing it so well.

Sending love and blessings your way... So very grateful for your presence on this earth.
Happy New Year, dear friend.

Laura said...

Happy New Year! May your life always be filled with blessings!

Pienosole said...

A joyful and healthy new year to you!
Thank you again for your beautiful blog.

Mystic Meandering said...

Beautiful breathtaking photo! I can see why you love spending time here. And your breathtaking description of the water that flows and sings under the ice comforts me too... The currents in us do run deep... I can feel your current from here...

Dearest Cate, my heart saddens with your news, as I feel I have known you forever - "wandering" with you here. Being filled and inspired by your presence. May you continue to "wander" here with us a while longer, leaving a trace of your beautiful song everywhere... A heart full of hugs to you as you transition to whatever Life holds for you in the new year! Christine

the wild magnolia said...

In this sharing a bit of the mystery of you slips through the private veil.

The descriptives of winter count the lessons of less a friend of wild white rhythms.

Nature lives with purpose. We want to do the same. The river is a runaway rush of energy rising to our lonesome cries for help.

Wishing you a particular peace and healing, through and through, to the core of it all.

Looking forward to traveling further into the mystery of life. I shall look over and wave a greeting from time to time.

Rowan said...

That is a stunningly beautiful photograph Cate. I hope that the river continues to bring you healing and comfort in the coming year.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Cate--I love hearing about your neck of the woods.