It is New Year’s Eve. The Christmas tree is on borrowed time. When I crouch near low branches to pull the plug on the lights each evening, she still carries the scent of a warm summer’s afternoon in the forest. Balsam firs are generally sparse and scrawny. It is hard to find one without one bad side. I got lucky. She stood in a group of four other trees even more beautiful than she was and thus, was chosen as the one to cut. She was just exactly the right height, too. The tip of the star at the top of the tree just touches the ceiling in our family room. Tomorrow, stripped of her finery, I will move her outside near the bird feeders and plunge her trunk into a snowbank so that she can be a shelter and resting place for the chickadees who come to feed all winter long. By April, her needles will have fallen off, leaving only a straight, nine foot long trunk and she will become kindling at the fire circle. While she works at becoming less of what she once was, her sisters in the forest will hunker down under their blankets of snow, becoming more.
2012, too, has drawn to a close. This evening, people throughout the world who are more ambitious than I am will dress up and go out to celebrate. Corks will be popped and champagne poured ’round the globe. There will be kisses and proposals and confetti. The ball in Times Square will drop without Dick Clark’s countdown. People will sing of old acquaintances and cups of kindness once again. For it is New Year’s Eve.
Cups of kindness. What a concept.
The world needs more cups of kindness. Pints, and gallons, and barrels of kindness. Oceans of it in which to bathe our weary souls.
Kindness between family members. Kindness among schoolchildren. Kindness between leaders. Kindness between people of different faiths.
When did kindness stop mattering, I wonder? What if, instead of resolving to lose that extra 10 pounds, or quit smoking, or stop spending so much money on crap we don’t need, everyone got out a piece of paper tonight and wrote
New Year’s Resolution for 2013
1. Be Kinder
and then, WAS? For 365 days in a row. Day after day…week after week…month after month…until this time next year? Kinder with ourselves? Our spouses? Our children? Our aging parents? Our siblings? Strangers? The planet? I wonder if the ripples created by that resolution would continue to spread.
I am the great great granddaughter of Scandinavian immigrants who left one cold climate for another one and never had enough sunlight. Enough rice pudding and Lutefisk can turn anyone into a cup-half-empty type of gal. Even so, this year I think I’m going to resolve to fill at least one cup to overflowing.
I hope that you will do the same. Happy New Year!