glory be the cat that meowed an hour or so after the new year breathed its first full lungs of breath.
glory be the mama’s feets that shuffled the stairs, that rounded the bend, that came upon what appeared–through groggy eyes that, of course, had taken in the toll of the midnight bells, and thus had been sleeping not more than an hour when all the cat ruckus occurred–glory be what appeared to be a bush all aglow. a bush with a halo.
a bush with a message to tell: be still. illumination awaits you.
and so i breathed for a while there. stood at the window. breathed in the blanketed birth of the new year. marveled at all of the stillness. the gift of the snow and the absolute silence. not a bird’s wing quivered. not even the wind moved.
only my cat, prancing. lifting paw through the snow drift, headed out for adventure. determined to take in the new year, one deep plunge at a time.
i, well, i tucked a bookmark there in the night, and i tootled back up the stairs to my bed.
i didn’t stay long, though. just long enough.
and then, when a toss or a turn shook me back to my preferred state of being–the state of being wide-eyed awake–i weighed my options: sleep, or savor the dawn.
dawn won, as it always does.
particularly here on a morn when inches of white had transformed the world, had draped a tableau that as long as there have been poets and ice crystals fallen from clouds has made for breath inhaled, held, and let out in long lines of glory.
i tiptoed back down, back to the place i’d left off, there in the deep of the night. same bush, still aglow. but washed now with the blue light of dawn creeping in from the east.
glory be the first footstep laid in the snow, glory be especially when it cuts a straight path to the trough where the birds come. where the birds know the seed will be poured, in abundance.
“g’morning world,” i called out. to whoever was listening. and whoever wasn’t, as well.
glory be the gift of the morning. glory be the newborn year, the chance to begin again.
something inside me stirred me to steep in the wholeness. every pore cried out for attention. i wanted to taste, to smell, to see, to hear, to feel the crisp, full, delectable launch of the day and the year.
i’d plugged in the tree, so two bushes glowed now. one in, and one out.
i’d fed the birds and my four-legged friends; truly, i make like i’m some sort of make-believe farmer, slopping the seed, pouring fresh water all around, outside and in. out, where the birds and the squirrels, even the possum, soothe their parched wintry throats. in, where sometimes the midnight cat slurps.
now it was time to feed my sweet children, the ones dreaming up in their beds, the ones who i hungered to greet with all that was sweet, that was good, that was soft, that would lighten their hearts on the dawn of the blessed fresh start.
i spotted a whole braided bread in the corner. considered milk and butter and eggs. considered cinnamon. eyed a big bowl of apples. considered slicing and sizzling in butter and sugar and spice. cranked up the old oven.
the original mother’s-milk bath–3 cups of milk, half a stick butter, half a cup sugar, pinch salt, a good douse of cinnamon clear from the streets of saigon–steamed in a pot on the stove. the bread i tore into bits, considering wholly the gift of the moment at hand.
tucked in the oven–the bread in the bath of the milk and the eggs and the cinnamon apples and raisins–a wholesome new-year pudding now on the horizon, i slipped on my knee-high wobbly rubber boots, the ones the color of school buses. and i returned to the place of the snow and the silence.
i walked before even a soul had preceded me. the snow was all mine, and if i kept my eye only in front of me, didn’t notice the damage i’d done–the foot step left in the snow–i scored the gift of treading where no one had trod.
and so it was on the glorious dawn of this year so ripe with infinite hope, and a good measure of oh-lord, brace-me for whatever will come.
and so on this start of a new year’s adventure, i thank the maker of snow, and the bringer-on of the sunlight. i thank the hands that kneaded the dough that became the bread that i tore into bits for my boys. i thank the one who spins the words from my head with the prayers of my soul and puts them forth in the snippets i call my word-breathing.
i bow before all the greatness above and before me. i drop to my knees, and beg for the grace and the might to carry on through this mountain called life.
i breathe in in prayer. i breathe out, whispering incantation, sprinkling glory-be wherever i go.
blessed God, fill me so that i might fill those in my path. no matter how steep, no matter how close to the edge, there where the precipice is. there where we inch ever so slowly, hold on for dear life.
for just ’round the next bend, just maybe, you see, there will be sights–and moments, indeed–that will carry our hearts straight up to the heavens. i’m certain.
arm-in-arm, or alone, it’s a path best taken in strides. best taken with lungs teeming with spirited prayer. it’s a path paved in glories, for those daring to see. blessed God, open my eyes. let me breathe in all of your glories, swallow your sorrows. carry on, in ascent ever lasting. most holy amen.
what is your prayer this new year? how did you meet the moment of wonder as the fresh start washed over you? blessed beginning again……