The New Year: Happiness and Kindness…Out Loud

New Year’s Day 2018 –

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety —

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light —
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the (year)
in happiness, in kindness.

…This was the first Mary Oliver poem I ever read.

Here’s the short version of the story:

It was early 2007. Our family was cloaked in grief, from searing losses. I was in my brother’s home and picked up the top book from a stack by their phone, gifts of love to my sister-in-law from a sorority sister, I think. I opened it and read this poem. And then another. And another. And I couldn’t put the book down; it was Why I Wake Early. And Mary Oliver became my psalmist. This poem in particular I kept re-reading and eventually either read out loud or recited nearly every morning for about 3 years or so. The recitation of warmth and light and goodness, when I wasn’t able to actually experience those much myself, helped me somehow… Like a liturgy…an affirmation, a hope, a daily act of faith that re-taught me how to put one foot in front of the other. Somehow it happened that I recovered/re-found ability to experience light and warmth and goodness.
For which I am profoundly grateful.

The poem originally/actually says “Watch, now, how I start the day…”

But I think this is a good way to enter the new year.
In happiness, in kindness.

Out loud.


Thanks for reading – Pam


Photo at top of page: I took it while driving across the eastern Colorado plains one winter morning a couple years ago.

This was originally a Facebook Post of mine on January 1, 2018.