Our lives are richer for the small, potent experiences we savour and remember. As this year draws to a close, I think of some of my favourite memories. It was a year that began for me with the heartbreak of a failed relationship, and though I spent much of the year healing, it is not the sorrow of those early months that has stayed with me. It is, instead, the desolate beauty of an early morning in the Broken Islands, sitting alone on the beach, watching as the sun rises, and the sky transforms from palest blue, to layers of vivid pink, and to a brighter blue with the promise of another sunshine-filled day.
What has stayed with me are those breathtakingly gorgeous summer evenings on the sailboat, watching the sky blaze into sunset, smelling the fresh salt-tang in the air, and feeling the gentle sway of the ocean.
What has stayed with me are the quiet family moments, pausing with my boys to take in the scenery at the top of a mountain or at the side of a stream, or laughing as we play a game together after supper. I think of my middle son as he hoisted the District Cup last spring after his team won their division in soccer. I’ve never seen a smile more jubilant. I think of my eldest as he walked into the house, proudly holding out his learner’s license, days after he turned sixteen. I think of my youngest, smiling tentatively as he had his head shaved for Cop for Cancer.
What has stayed with me is the warmth and energy and vibrancy of New Orleans, the taste of beignets and cafe au lait, of oyster po’ boys, of bread pudding. I think of the joyous music we listened to at Preservation Hall, of the lone trumpet player on a bench along the walkway along the Mississippi River, of the street bands everywhere we went.
What has stayed with me this year are the evenings spent with old friends, laughing late into the night, whether gathered around a dining table or a campfire. What has stayed are my morning coffees with Kira, whose stories always make me laugh and whose perspective always helps me see things clearly.
I’ll be spending tonight with some of my oldest and dearest friends, gathered around a table, sharing good food and good stories. And I’ll be bringing “W is for Will.”
It seems a fitting way to celebrate the end of what has turned out to be a very good year.
What are your favourite moments from 2012?