Around six this afternoon, in our Vermont dark, I stood on State Street in Montpelier, waiting outside a movie theatre for my teenage daughter and her friend. The downtown was all lit up with lights, and passersby were merry with the holiday. I was standing with my brother-in-law, and we were laughing about a mechanical music from some source we couldn’t determine, oddly mimicking what might have been the songs of angels. While the girls were at the movies, we had been talking in a crowded coffee shop, and I had seen people come and go that I had known, years ago.
My brother-in-law I’ve known since I was sixteen, before I began driving, before I read Plato, before I married and had two daughters and threw myself into my adult life. Here we stood, in this odd, brightly lit place, on the heartbeat of a new year, in a little bit where time might have simply stood still, for just one moment. We spoke about (what else?) our children. As I laughed about how much his older son ate at my house last summer, my daughter and her friend arrived, in their long lovely hair and earrings, smiling and filled with the happiness of seeing a movie and their own friendship. As we said our goodbyes, we said goodbye to 2015, too; in this evening, the whole unknown expanse of 2016 lies before us.
From behind me, I felt arms suddenly around my waist, and there was a little girl in a familiar iridescent blue jacket – dear companion of my younger daughter – this sweet girl hugging me and saying, Happy New Year! before she disappeared down the street, too.
May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.