We celebrated my Mom’s 99th birthday on Thursday. She still lives in the house my Dad built 60 years ago. During the past few months, she has undertaken a new task – finding those things she has not used in years and feels she no longer needs. Nearly every day, when I call her, she proudly describes what she has moved to the small green bedroom (her designated collection point) there to await my next visit when I will deliver these gently used items to the thrift store.
Following her example, I have started de-cluttering our house. It is amazing just how much stuff is tucked up on closet shelves, hidden in desk drawers, or stashed in the way-back corner of the bottom kitchen cupboard; items that certainly served a purpose or filled a want but which have mostly been forgotten. It feels good put into practice the three Rs – reduce, recycle, reuse..
My first thoughts about 2023 were tinged with wariness. After all, this past year was filled with false starts and yet more uncertainty. Then I began nudging myself toward a change in attitude; if only a shift in semantics. Rather than looking at the coming tomorrows with trepidation, I am trying to change my language and look at the new year as time of mystery; balancing cautiousness and excitement; looking at the days ahead with a sense of wonder.
I recently rediscovered a volume of poetry by Langston Hughes, originally published for children, but with lyrical phrases that offer weighty advice to children of all ages. His poem, “The Dream Keeper” gave me insight as to how I might approach my attitude adjustment. He wrote:
Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamer, Bring me all your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.
That phrase “That I may wrap them in a blue cloud cloth” rang true as I gently wrapped my Grandmother’s heart-shaped mercury glass ornament and put it away for another year; carefully handling the fragile heirloom all the while joyously celebrating childhood memories and thoughts of future holidays.
The poet’s words also reminded me that my hopes for today and tomorrow will need tender protection from “too rough fingers of the world” and that I need to keep that “blue cloud cloth” close at hand so that I might safely wrap my dreams while looking for the wonder and the mystery in the days ahead.
Happy New Year!