Saturday, December 31, 2011

A snapshot of the past.

I took this picture on Christmas Eve. We were driving home after spending an afternoon with my daughter admiring the big decorated Christmas tree and lights and shop windows in Bridgeport Village. Heading through the last of the holiday traffic, we stopped at a red light. I looked into the side mirror on the passenger side of the car, got out my phone and snapped the photo.

I saw the perfect reflection of the sun setting into the darkening landscape.

We’d just passed by these bare, gray trees silhouetted against the sunset but I hadn’t even noticed. I hadn’t seen this wonderful sight. And if I hadn’t looked into the mirror next to me, and seen the reflection, I’d have missed it.

It made me wonder. How many sunsets do I miss every day? While I’m driving through traffic, talking on the phone, checking my email or hurrying make it home?

Today, on the eve of the New Year, seems like a perfect time for reflection.

Time to see the past in the mirror. Take a snapshot of the sunset of this year sinking slowly behind us and admiring the beauty of the year that started out with bare trees and expectation, budded into blossoms and fruitful experiences, then changing leaves and lives; finally, letting go and letting the past mulch, knowing it’s not all about loss but fertilizing our future.

Maybe it’s only by looking backward that we can see how much we’ve moved forward.

It’s been a year of moving forward for all of us. New skills learned. New relationships made. New ideas and challenges. Some things worked well, some things didn’t.

Twelve months ago, it was a new year. I had no idea what it would bring. I was learning to throw clay on the wheel and struggling. I didn’t know why I was playing with clay instead of metal. It just felt right even if I kept doing it wrong. I persisted. My daughter was engaged and there was a wedding to plan. I had forgotten how something so wonderful can get so very complicated and stressful. I struggled to make it the best day for her that I could. My son moved into an apartment. That meant another room was full of memories, toys and dust. I boxed books, washed walls and repainted. The old carpet was ripped up and replaced with new. Now, my home is refreshed and re-nested and renewed. And for my husband and me, our lives together are renewed as well.

We were at a red light. Stopped in the present, I was able to see the reflection of where we had been in the mirror. I snapped a shot of the past. Then the light changed and we moved forward.

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