A woman lived in the same suburban neighborhood for over 40 years. She lived in such a way that she never really saw it anymore; it was that familiar. The same could have been said to be true of her marriage of thirty years. There was nothing fresh in it, but it was familiar, and so she had the comfort of that without ever really feeling alive. The woman wasn’t living each year anew. Well, one New Year’s Eve, she read a story to her granddaughter about a Native American elder who tells the children of his tribe that whatever animal they see on the first day of the new season would be their totem, their guide for that year.
The little granddaughter liked this idea so much and she said, “Grandma tomorrow is the first day of the New Year! Can we go outside and see an animal for me?”
The woman who loved her little grand-daughter said, “Yes, we will.” But in her heart, she was a little worried. She lived in a very settled area with lots of lawns and very few, if any, wild animals. She worried that her little granddaughter was going to see a stinkbug or a worm on the pavement.
The next day, she put on a happy face and her granddaughter met her at the door. And they put on their coats, and walked outside. Soon the granddaughter pointed at a row of roses that one of the neighbors had been tending. And all the roses were in full bloom. Had they always been there? The woman could not remember.
They stopped and the woman lifted her granddaughter up so the child could smell them. And it was truly a wonderful moment. The woman thought about planting a pretty rose garden in her yard. That would be lovely. They could plant it together.
And when they were ready to walk on, the little girl pointed at a break in the fences. There was a small path between the houses! And all these years of living in this neighborhood, the woman had never seen that path. Yet her granddaughter saw it right away. And so they walked between the houses, and came out in a beautiful oak grove.
The trees were majestic in the early morning light. And between them, just a way off in the sun, stood a golden-eyed stag. The stag had many points on his antlers. He had probably lived in this oak grove all his life. And he bent his head, flicked his ears and nodded to the grandmother and her granddaughter, and then he trotted into the bushes and disappeared.
The little girl was elated, “A magic deer! We saw a magic deer!” The woman stood in astonishment at the beauty and grace before her. All these years this path to the trees was there. All these years, the magical stag had been living here. How had she never seen them before?
Well, they walked a little further and came out to a little hill with a vista that overlooked the entire neighborhood, and there was a bench to rest on. It was so beautiful.
And when they got home, the woman had something to share. The next opportunity she got, she invited her husband on a walk to the bench, where they sat and admired the beauty before them, and held hands. It became their new morning routine, instead of each doing separate things, they took a walk together through the beautiful trees to this bench. And there was not just one, but many deer, who came by the dozen each morning, the does, the fawns, and occasionally, the magnificent buck.
The woman planted her rose garden that spring with her little granddaughter, and it was a whole new joy in her life. The child had brought her these gifts that had been under her nose all along, just by seeing with new eyes.
So, you too at the start of the New Year can begin a brand new year, a never before lived year for you and your dreams.
~ Marry Morrissey