So Robert and I did not get to have our traditional southern New Year’s feast of black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread on Jan 1st. (Because I couldn’t have peas or corn a week before a certain procedure I endured yesterday-which you can read about, with far too much detail, in tomorrow morning’s post).
I know that the poet is right, but just for today, January 1st, I’m going to hold onto gold as if it lasts forever.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
I love this short but oh-so-truthful jewel of a poem, The Year, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, written back in 1910. For we experience, year after new year, all that she writes about, all the realities of life.
What can be said in New Year rhymes, That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go, We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light, We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings, We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed, We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear, And that’s the burden of the year.
The weight of our 2021 year—the good (we did have some, right?) and the bad (no need for the same question) and the we’re-not-sure-which-it-was—now nears its tipping-over point into 2022’s own “rhymes” of a “thousand times.”
May we all “rise up laughing with the light” tomorrow and tomorrow.
Last fall near Halloween, Robert and I watched Pixar’s Coco, which beautifully introduced us to Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Coming from a family culture that embraces frequent visits to graveyards and cemeteries, I loved the idea of remembering loved ones who have passed on by having their own joyfully colorful and celebratory holiday.
It was only a couple of days until November 2, the traditional day when the holiday is celebrated in Mexico and other places. So we quickly made a little ofrenda (altar) consisting of a couple of pictures of our deceased parents, some flowers and a candle or two. Sitting before our simple shrine, we thanked our folks for their lives and their love.
But 2021 was another story. We began gathering Day of the Dead materials months ago and started making preparations.
We collected Day of the Dead candles, banners, decorations, and on a trip to Atlanta, we found a loaf of Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead) at the Buford Highway Farmers Market (what a glorious center of culinary diversity).
Last Tuesday, November 2nd, we celebrated by combining our dinner table and our Day of the Dead ofrenda.
Robert’s folks …
And mine …
We made some of their favorite foods for our meal …
The loaf of Pan de Muertos, round to symbolize the cycle of life, with teardrops flowing from the top, representing goddess Chimalma’s tears for the living.
Holding hands, we shared memories of fun, funny and joyful stories from the lives of our parents and other loved ones who have passed on.
A movingly marvelous evening and now a permanent addition to our holiday calendar.