I wake to crystal skies, thrilled that the first day of this year brings delightful sunshine to warm the chilly nip in the air. Although my head hit the pillow well after midnight, I am nudged out of sleep as glittering rays of sunlight bathe my face. My body feels the loss of my customary eight hours of rest, yet the invitation of a beautiful new day dances temptingly before me. Despite the early hour, my feet escape the sheets as my fingers seek my robe. Shivering, I run to the kitchen to fix a cup of lavender tea with pup at my heels. He stops beside his bowl, staring at its emptiness as if to chide me for not filling it before making my tea. Pup devours his breakfast in record time; it seems he shares my heightened anticipation to begin our early morning walk. After all, we do not often have the chance to stare a new year in the face, opening welcoming arms and hearts to the mysteries that will be unfurled in the 365 days ahead.
Pup and I saunter up the road, the early morning light sparkling against his smooth, copper fur. My gloved hands wrap tightly around his leash as he sprints ahead. The three layers I had donned quickly prove too warm, and I am glad I’ve left my hat and scarf at home. No recorded music will play in my ears this morn, for I’ve already realized that the music of this day is filling my soul in its own stunning way. My gloves soon find their way into my pocket, as the sun is already working its warming magic upon the early chill. I shut my eyes, deeply breathing in the pine-scented air. A gentle breeze ruffles my hair, and it feels as though I’ve been transported into the arms of an early April day. My eyes open at a chattering call, and I capture the lush gray tail of a squirrel as he spirals out of view up the trunk of a mighty fir.
The road is barren as though no car can bear to break the serenity offered by the day. Pup takes full advantage, tugging me left and right at his whim. He turns his head at me now and again, curious as to why I am not chiding him to heel. I smile at his bronze-eyed stare. I can’t bear to rein him in on such a perfect morning. It is a day to be treasured for a thousand moments, serene and promising with its offerings of a cloudless sky, shimmering silver-gold sunlight, and birds softly calling to each other from their perches in the pine trees. A robin darts in front of me before coming to rest in the branches of a glorious, arching oak. Stopping to reflect, to soak in the essence of radiant morning, lyrics of a Glenn Yarbrough song from my youth flow through my mind, “The day is so warm, you wouldn’t dare touch it, if it lay down by your side. So come to me, come to me, my arms are open wide.” The melody of the song flows through me hauntingly, evocatively. Though wintry, the temperate day beckons to me as though I could, indeed, touch it. It feels as though this day–this particularly extraordinarily gorgeous day–would allow me to wrap my arms about it, lay by its side, and immerse myself in its magnificence. And, so, I thank the day as I continue to walk into it, thanking it for the blessings it bestows on me with each step, each moment, each heartbeat. Such a day.
Turning homeward, I begin to ponder the delights and challenges the year ahead might hold for me. As if they are too heavy for the day, I cast my thoughts into the blue skies, imagining them floating off toward the horizon as if they were the hot air balloons that so often dot the county’s landscape. This is no day for pondering the future, but a day for enjoying the present, the delicious beauty asking only that I attend to it.
My reverie is broken by the call of a neighbor. “Happy New Year!” she chimes, her beaming smile as sunny as the tone of her voice. “What’s your New Year’s resolution–or resolutions?” Without a pause, I respond, “Ah, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It seems I find something I can do better each day, so I’m in the practice of striving to do better all year long…day in and day out. I’m always needing to improve at something or other…it’s easier for me to tend to things as they come up. If I waited until the end of the year, my list would be far too long and imposing!” Her beautiful eyes brighten at my words, yet she laughingly shakes her head at me in a mixture of confusion and dismay. Together, we smile. “Well, what’s yours?” I ask. “Ah, I’ve got only one resolution. It’s not to spend so much money,” she chuckles. Grinning at her mirth, I begin, “That’s so…” “Laudable,” she interjects. “Yes, laudable,” I laugh. “It’s a very commendable and practical resolution.” We part ways, and I am left with the thought that it is so lovely to have the desire, the ability, and the free will to aspire to change our lives in so many ways. Ah, to have the choice to stay the same or to change. Incredible. Whether small or grand, it is our aspirations, channeled into action, that allow us to transform. “I am my own master,” I whisper into the morning stillness. The thought, though not a new one, leaves me feeling both enormously free and solidly rooted in self-responsibility. In my imaginings, a grand hot air balloon, its vibrant colors hinting of stained glass glory, alights in the grassy space at my feet.
Pup pulls me out of my musing as he jerks ahead. I wince from the jolt. With a too-gentle, “No,” I hold the leash taut as he strains forward. Something my eyes cannot spy has caught his inquisitive, hound dog attention, and a true reprimand seems somehow unjust. “I must do better at training Pup,” I whisper softly into the air. As if on cue, Pup shakes his head, his long ears flopping wildly. His warm gaze catches my own, and I laugh. We both know he has me wrapped about his pretty paws, and there is no chance of this particular aspiration taking hold. Not today, not on this too-beautiful, butterfly winged day of all days. Tomorrow, possibly tomorrow, might be a better day for such ordinary things.