Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! - My Last Column

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve as We Look Back to the Future

We stand in the crisp night air, our breath forming billowing wreaths around us, before drifting slowly away. This reminds me of time – gossamer, intangible, something that cannot be held on to.  It is quiet and still and we are waiting, our cold hands wrapped snugly around our steaming mugs of cocoa laced with peppermint liqueur, a small nod to this one special night. Suddenly the distant hills come alive with the bright, crackling sparks of brilliantly colored lights. Red, green, blue and white, they rise from the quiet hills, illuminating the night sky before falling, falling and fading away. The air becomes thick with the far away booms and pops of fireworks, as the clock strikes midnight and we raise our mugs to another year. He draws me close and gently kisses my cheek. We are best friends, partners in life, husband and wife, co-conspirators, and fellow weary travelers on the road of life. This quiet celebration is exactly right.

We watch the dark outlines of rolling hills, waiting and listening, drawing in our breath, lest the fleeting moments of sparkling illumination become obscured. Our exhalations are the applause, as we silently witness the transition of time, from one year to the next. Gradually the night becomes quiet, returning to dark wilderness once more. We step inside to the warmth of the fire.

He says, “It’s been quite a year.” He says that every year. And every year I agree. He says, “We still have each other.” I laugh, but these simple words strike home, for I know how fragile and fleeting life is. I am profoundly grateful and bow my head. When I look up, I see his eyes glimmering with a sentimental mist. Yes, we still have each other.

We have celebrated many a New Year’s Eve together. A lifetime’s worth. We have gone to parties, weddings, and Hawaiian Luau shows. But more often than not, we have spent this night at home. Four children were hard to park. We had too many responsibilities, too many obligations. We had jobs and children that required early risings, even on New Year’s Day. There were pets afraid of the surrounding celebrations, destructive in their fear. For years I have painted over the chewed door jamb of one such New Year’s night out, compliments of Pete, the spotted hound.

We’ve made many New Year’s resolutions, some just recently found gracing the inside cover of an old journal. ‘Potty train the baby.  Keep the inside of the car clean. Lose 10 lbs.’ I did get one of those resolutions accomplished – the baby did get potty trained.

It’s also a good time to reflect on the year past. The song we all sing by the beloved Scottish poet, Robert Burns; “Auld Lang Syne,” means “Old Long Ago”. We are asked, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang Syne?”

As we sit by the fire warming ourselves after our wilderness light show, we talk of this “Old Long Ago”. For isn’t it our past that helps to create the people we are now, sifting through the memories and keeping the best, leaving the rest as lessons well learned?  We speak of those we have loved and lost, remembering the laughter and the joy, taking the best along with us as we move forward without them. We speak of our hopes and dreams for this New Year and all that we are grateful for. We talk of all that we have overcome in our struggles of the past.

 But most of all, we talk of our wish for the world; that everyone feels grateful to have each other. After all, we have just survived the end of the Mayan Calendar. We must be doing something right.

Below you can access my New Year's Story just published today.
At this time of New Beginnings, my experience with writing for The Tacoma News Tribune has now ended.
Last year at this same time I had read of an opportunity to become one of six 'Community Columnists' in my daily newspaper.
On a lark, I submitted the required two stories, each 650 words or less, relating to my personal experience of living in Pierce County, Washington.
They wanted a cross section of writer's from different areas and walks of life to write a column every 6 weeks for 1 year.

Living here on the very edge of Pierce County and bordering wilderness, I thought that reader's might enjoy my stories.
I was so excited to be chosen!
This has been a wonderful experience.
And very humbling.
I did not feel worthy to be included in the ranks of these talented writers.
We did have the opportunity to meet for some authentic Korean BBQ in September, organized by my fellow Community Columnist, Maria Gudaitis, shown here on the front right.
Beside her is Editor, Patrick O'Callahan, and then little old me.
On the left in the back is Glenda Cooper. She wrote a book that I recently reviewed and can also be viewed on my side bar, 'The Road to Lost and Found'.
Beside her is my Editor, Cheryl Tucker and at the very front sits Catherine Forte.
You can read all of their columns (and those that weren't in attendance) from the link I have included - under 'Opinions' on the title bar, then 'Columnists'.
Both Editor's also write blogs!
I am sad that my year with The News Tribune has ended, but I am so grateful for this wonderful experience.
I will be looking for new opportunities going forward!
Thank you, Dear Reader's for all of your encouragement and positive feedback.
It has meant so much!


  1. In the Old Long Ago I wrote a weekly newspaper column. It was a great experience and I still treasure the time. I'm glad to hear you feel the same.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Oh Karen that is exciting that you tried and you succeeded I know you are a talented writer and am glad you believed in your self enough to try. I am sure even with your year over in that newspaper there are many other opportunities for someone with your talent and I must say compassion.
    I have enjoyed everything I have read here. Happy New Year I look forward to getting to know you better. We are all in this together and I am quite happy to know we are in good hands. Hug B

  3. Your old journal entry had me giggling.. done what an experience you had writing -- for a news paper..what a nice goal to have completed.. I love your stories and I am a fan that will keep coming back..
    Have a most wonderful New Year EVER!!! and know you found a friend -- it's me!

  4. I've loved discovering your blog this year Karen and I look forward to reading it throughout 2013 :)

    Happy New Year!!

  5. Karen, as I sit here smiling and slightly teary eyed from reading this post (that has moved me this morning) - I know, without a doubt, that you are more than worthy to sit with the other writers.

    Happy New Year!!! I look forward to reading more!

  6. Such a joyful photograph Karen! Wishing you and your family all the best for a Happy, Healthy and Sparkling New Year!

    Madelief x

  7. Wow! You are such a gifted writer!! Congratulations!!

  8. Dearest Karen,
    What a lovely closing remark in writing for 2012! You have certainly touched many with your great writing skills. Last night, or should I say early morning...? I was too tired for reading this but so glad I sat down now with a Roscato Rosso Dolce to go over your wording. As usual I am very proud of you and I know that both your Parents will be nodding when I jot this down. Yes, nodding from heaven down to our tiny Mother Earth.
    Let's toast to a healthy and happy 2013 with lots of satisfaction.
    Hugs to you,

  9. Karen you are an amazing writer! I can't say it enough, but I just love your stories, your words and the way you make the reader feel like we are sitting right in front of you listening to your words. Happy New Year to you, many more to come!

  10. I'm sorry that your year at the Tribune has ended - I found your articles to be so beautifully written and inspirational. Perhaps you can just continue those thoughts here on your blog. :)

    You should not at all be surprised to be in the company of those talented writers - you are, indeed, one of them.

  11. Thank you so much, all of my Dear Friends, for your very kind and encouraging comments. It means so much to me! I am so looking forward to this coming year, reading about your lives and sharing your experiences. Here's to 2013! xx

  12. A very happy new year, Karen! I hope 2013 will bring you more opportunities to share your writing with others. Certainly those of us who read your blog want more! I really enjoyed your New Year's piece. Especially finding the old resolutions - yes indeed. As you say, in the end appreciating one another is the most important thing.

  13. Karen, Congratulations on your past year of columns. It must have been a truly great experience.
    Happy New Year! May it bring you many new and exciting opportunities!

  14. Hello Karen, It is so nice to meet you. I enjoyed your writing and am happy to have found your blog. What an experience you had last year. Who knows what will show up next for you? Possibly something even more wonderful. Fingers crossed.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  15. Wonderful columns, one and all. How exciting for you to be one of the writers.

    And your New Years Eve memories - splendid!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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