Fling wide the door

It’s the last day of 2015, a simple, peaceful day here. As I write, our woods are white with snow; each tree wears an elegant poet’s sleeve or high frilled collar bedazzled with ice crystals. No wind stirs, and apart from the non-stop activity of furry and feathered visitors who frequent our feeders, the world seems hushed and still.

With two surgeries behind me now and one yet ahead to repair the ankle I shattered in my tumble down a dewy riverbank last October, all my days have been rather hushed and still, quiet and contemplative. Having no other choice than to sit quietly in a cast, ankle elevated, might seem a hardship – particularly this evening, when people will assemble at private soirees and other festive gatherings to pay tribute to the New Year. But not so for me. It’s my nature to be contemplative and my preference to ring in a quiet New Year at home.

A year ago, I posted A snow globe of memories, a loving look back to what Christmas was like for me as a little girl growing up in the early 1960’s. Since I’ve time on my hands and nowhere special to be, perhaps you’ll indulge my urge to reach for my snow globe and give it just one more gentle shake. . .

ANV 1963

A photo of me, circa 1963, fresh from a hot bath and ready to lounge by the fire.

It’s the last day of the old year… I am four or five, maybe six. (In this memory, I’m stitching together several years of a similar experience.) Fresh from a steamy hot bath, I lounge on my stomach by the fire in a flannel nightgown and a long, cozy robe, turning the pages of my new storybook or coloring with my latest box of Crayolas. Oak logs hiss and pop on the heavy, black wrought iron grate. I glance up often to feel the heat touch my face and to study the undulating greens and purples and white-hot blues that animate the heart of red-orange flame.

Daddy sits at the piano, playing selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein or Rodgers and Hart; Momma rustles about in the kitchen, putting away pots and pans from our evening meal; our calico kitty, Cleo, slides a friendly tail along my shoulder as she passes by on her way to curl up for a long winter’s nap beneath the Christmas tree. I watch her for a moment, then return to my book or my coloring, feeling happy, safe, and snug.

Quiet minutes tick by until Momma tells me it’s bedtime. Tonight, I know this means it’s time for our New Year’s Eve ritual. I jump up from my spot by the fire and walk with her through the kitchen to our back door with its bright crystal handle. Momma says, “Go ahead, open it! Let the old year out, and don’t forget to tell it goodbye!”

With a grin, I tug on the handle. “Goodbye, old year, goodbye!” I call, flinging wide the door. My small voice rings out over the frozen hills. The two of us, Momma and I, stand in the chill night air, gaze up into starlit skies, or perhaps an amethyst sky dotted with fast-whirling snowflakes. The night is so close, so perfect and still, I feel I might reach out and capture a star of my own to keep forever – a star of snow, or a star from heaven.

I’m too young to feel wistful about the onslaught of time. What I feel is a sense of peace, of reverence, a sense of kindly hospitality and courtliness, squiring the old year to the door as an honored, departing guest and bidding it a fond farewell.

In the morning as soon as I stir, Momma rustles me out of bed and down the winding stairs to our front door. She allows me the privilege of opening the white wooden door with its shiny brass handle to invite the New Year in. My New Year doesn’t officially begin until I pull open the big door to let the bright morning air sting my cheeks with pinpricks of cold and wild wondrous possibility. I feel elated, fresh and new, aflutter with all the good things that must surely be on their way. How I adore the prospect of a brand new year, what a thrill it is to swing the door wide to welcome it…

Momma sleeps now beneath the winter snows, but it’s only her body that sleeps. Her wise, blithe spirit lives with me still, and the lessons she taught me at New Year remain.

Fling wide the door

Maybe we all need to stand at our own back door to bid goodbye to what is passing, to stand a while and remember, to gaze out over the geography of our lives and allow peace to settle there, soft around our memories as flakes of sparkling snow. Maybe we should keep our old year company, then allow it the freedom to fade off into the distance, knowing we can keep what is precious and let go what is not.

Perhaps, after a good night’s rest, we can find it within ourselves to go with a child’s openness to the front door and tug it open to welcome a new day, a new year, a new now, fresh with the free air of what-might-be…

It’s there, now, in peace, in acceptance, in stillness – this moment, this life. Hold tight to sweet memories: they are yours to keep. And whatever you need to let go of, whatever you choose to let into your life, may today be the day to fling wide the door.


Today marks the second anniversary of this small blog of mine. It scared me nearly out of my wits to begin, in part because I didn’t yet know you, my wonderful friends and readers, were out here in the ether, ready to welcome me. Having had two lovely years to form deep and lasting friendships with many of you, I cannot now imagine a time when you were not a part of my life. Thank you for being here with me in this quiet space, sharing thoughts and dreams, walking this star-strewn path. I so appreciate the gift of your presence.

A happy, blessed New Year to you, my friends, and much love. x o x o



30 thoughts on “Fling wide the door

  1. I love your photos and shared thoughts! Thank you so much for adding depth and richness to our lives with your words and pictures! Happy new year!

  2. Sitting here with a little snow falling outside, happily reading, first, Bill Bryson’s new book, and now your latest missive. What a perfect snapshot you created of New Year’s Eves and mornings past. And what a symbolic tradition you shared with your mother, opening the front and back doors. I love that. I am so sorry about your physical trials of the last months. Know that you have a friend across the miles who is wishing you a speedy recovery and a New Year replete with many moments of joy. Thank you, dear friend, for your generous and wise posts.xoxo

    • Wendy, my dear friend-across-the-miles, what lovely messages you write. I always look forward to them! I so appreciate your thoughtfulness. I realize just now that I never thought to ask Momma whether our New Year’s Eve tradition was something she learned from her mother or whether it was simply something wonderful she dreamed up on her own; I only know I treasured those magical moments. Thank you for sharing them with me here. Much love and many blessings to you in the New Year! xoxo

  3. Dear Amy, Thank you again for your beautiful gift of words. Wishing you blessings in 2016 and and a speedy recovery.
    xoxo ~ ellen

    • Dear sweet Ellen, you are more than welcome. I love sharing them with you. I hope you’re nicely settled in your new home now. Cannot wait to see what starts popping up in your gardens this spring! Please do post some photos! Wishing you a bright and bountiful New Year! Much love and many hugs~ ❤

  4. Dear Amy, thank you for generous gift of allowing us to enter into your enchanting snow-globe childhood world. I adore your mother for giving you that beautiful ritual of closing out the old year, and opening the new to greet the “wild, wondrous” world. Thank you for opening your world, and gracing us with your beautiful writing, your generous heart and gentle spirit. I envision that adorable little girl, now in her older self, opening the door–knowing that she will soon walk again, touching the soft earth beneath her bare feet, as she walks into her star-strewn path– healthy and healed.

    • Maude, your kind words here brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your willingness to stand at the threshold between my past and my present, offering healing words of love and understanding. Your friendship is both a gift and a special blessing… Wishing you and your loved ones every good thing in this fine new year that stretches out before us. Much love to you, dear soul. xoxo

  5. Oh what a beautiful evocation of your childhood self and the sweetness of your family. I’m so grateful to be on this quiet path with you, Amy. Grateful too for the gift of your writing which always feeds my soul. I cannot imagine a time when you were not a part of my life, either!

    • My dear, dear Katrina, I am so grateful for you. It was under a bright and benevolent star that you came into my life. When I flung the door wide those many years ago, you were one of the good things twinkling on my horizon. Thank you for walking this quiet path with me, my beautiful, faithful friend. Your name is embroidered on my heart. Love and blessings to you and yours~ xoxo

  6. Happy new year, dear Amy! So glad you were brave and stepped into the blogosphere. We are all the better for being able to take in the love, peace and beauty you share here. Happy anniversary, too!! xoxo

    • I’m glad I summoned the courage to jump into the blogosphere, too, Nancy; otherwise, I would never have found wonderful you! Thank you for all you share from your tender, loving heart. Happy New Year to you and all your dearies, and much love~ xoxo

  7. Dear Amy I hope I can get back to you this way, the blog things never seem to allow me comments…I suppose I have followed your blog intermittently for quite awhile now but with no interaction, basking in your lovely photography and a few readings here and there. Today I saw you here and read on….what a lovely time I had …as it seemed to be myself. Thank you. What a beautiful writer you are and thank you for permission to be an introvert…recuperating from knee surgery I too love the quiet it requires of me, but living in a world of extroverts I so often do not let myself enjoy the joy it is for me to be reflective, to write and ponder. I love the New Year ritual. This was my first Christmas without my Dad, and also my Mom as she went to be with my sister, and it was a sad reflective time that has taken some processing. Blessings to you and thanks for the gift this morning. Love to you and yours Judy

    • Dear Judy, I hope your recovery from knee surgery will be swift and complete. You and I are blessed to have a natural inclination for quiet introspection, aren’t we? (I have wondered much of late how more energetic, extroverted souls with similar injuries manage their long hours of required rest.) In situations like yours and mine, introversion is practically a Super Power!! I’m so sorry to hear about your dad… I hope you have sweet memories of him to hold in your heart. Once you’re more mobile, perhaps you’ll be able to share future happy Christmases with your mom and sister. Wishing you much love and many restful hours of soul-filling solitude and contentment, my friend. Blessings~ xoxo

  8. Happy second anniversary! I am thrilled for you:). Your beautiful pics and lovely words add such peace to my days–as does your gentle spirit. We’re lucky to have you putting such great things into the ether. And as for this post, you had me at flannel nightgown and Crayolas:). Oh, those were the days . . .

    • I love knowing my small posts offer you a bit of peace in your days. When I’m mobile again, I think we two are long overdue for a girls’ night of coloring by the fire. Sound good? I’ll bring the Crayolas!!

      Thank you for the gift of your soulful writing and even more for the gift of your friendship; I am blessed by and grateful for both. Happy New Year to you and your dear ones~ xoxo

  9. breathtakingly beautiful, and almost painful to imagine a world without your infusion of beauty. i thank the day you were filled with the courage to begin this adventure in scattering the beautiful, and filling hearts with your rarest of beauties.

    bless you. and thank you. and happy blessed fresh-scrubbed new year……xoxox

    • It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, dipping my first timid toe into the ether! Had I not, I might never have found beautiful you, my lovely friend and kindred. You are a light to my path and a song in my heart. Bless you. Wishing you a brilliant and bountiful new year~ xoxo

  10. Madeline L’Engle once wrote of her hope to become so still that she could “hear the heartbeat of a squirrel”. Your New Years piece is filled with that kind of ‘happy hush’. Thank you , from the ‘sunrise side’ of Lake Huron! 🙂

    • It’s a delight to share that ‘happy hush’ with you from your glorious sunrise side of Lake Huron, Sooz! Thank you so much for your lovely note and for walking this quiet path with me. May 2016 bring you much joy~ xoxo

  11. Hi Amy – The beauty of your postings is such a respite from the noise of the world – a sanctuary. The picture you paint of your sparkling, snow-filled woods depicts peace, quiet, and nature’s subtle beauty. It fills me with feelings of peacefulness. And your remembrance from your childhood New Year’s ritual led by your mother transports me to a time when I was a child and all is new and everything is possible. This is how our parents still are with us – just such memories of moments shared, of special family rituals, of scenes of coziness and peace. My parents showed me how to appreciate the subtle sounds and scenes of nature – and how to be still and watch and listen. For that I am forever grateful – and they are with me every day, as I notice a tiny spectrum in a sparkling snow crust, or catch the sight of a bluebird landing on a branch overhead as I drive down a country road, or hear one solitary peeper sing during the unusual warm-up of a New Hampshire December. So, your piece for the New Year really tugged at the heart strings and brought back my own memories. Thank you so much for the beauty of your words and photos – they have a real impact! May your recovery go well and give you an opportunity for more thoughtful writing. Be well.

    • Oh, how I love knowing you and I share a similar childhood experience, Jan! Your parents taught you well. Reading your lovely words transported me to a place of stillness and peace. Thank you, so much, for sharing them here. I so appreciate your kindness, my friend. New Year’s blessings to you, and all my best wishes~ xoxo

  12. It is all in the loveliness of you, that I am fortunate at times to recognize myself. Many continued blessings to you Dear Amy. ♥

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