Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Great Gift of Memory

Bobby Burns 1759-96
by Archibald Skirving
Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min'?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o' lang syne?

We twa hae rin about the braes,

And pu'd the gowans fine;

But we've wander'd monie a weary fit

Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,

Frae mornin' sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin' auld lang syne.

And here 's a hand, my trusty fiere,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,

And surely I'll be mine;

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne.


This traditional song tells us, rather allows us, to take a moment and look to our past, before we step forward into a new year. The speaker asks: Should we leave it all behind us? Then he answers: Certainly not until we honor the times we have had and friends who have been separated from us. What is it about the turning of the year that insists that our past and its memories are part of the ages--like heaps of ashes? Yesterday, in a still moment, as I waited in a local deli for a take-out order, I noticed a group of young men, obviously builders and craftsmen taking their lunch. One looked very much like my nephew Matthew who also was a builder. It is very nearly impossible to describe the memory flash I experienced, but just for a fleeting instant, I could hear his voice and rich laughter as might have wafted from such a gathering in his lifetime. In my memory was buried, not just his voice, but his big and boyish grin and blue eyes and blond curls. I have to say, it was a comfort to walk out the door thinking he had just checked in on me. So dear readers, on this last day of the year, I'll take a cup of kindness for this great and mysterious gift of memory -- and its endless voices and visions from times gone by -- be they joyous or heartbreaking -- that make each of us who we are.


vignette design said...

I still think about your nephew and am so sorry for your loss. It could so easily be my son. I hope and pray 2010 brings us all peace. --Delores

willow said...

Blessings to your family. Cherish that sweet memory.

Warm, woolly wishes for a wonderful 2010~!

willow said...

PS- I love that ha'penny song and used to sing it to my kids when they were small!

Country Girl said...

Perfect. Honestly.

Wishing you a wonderful new year, after paying your respects to the old one.

FireLight said...

Delores, your last post was so inspiring. It makes me want to drag out all my dishes and "play house" all day. I thank you for stopping by and look forward to visiting your blog many times in 2010!

Willow, I will cherish memories, and I thank you for teaching so many of us unique and wonderful ways we can do so through blogging: Writing them down, finding the right photo or poem, seeing them in print, and of course, sharing and discussing it all here!&&&&&&& Yes, I have been singing and even sometimes strumming this old carol since my brother first brought home a version(circa 1963) by Peter, Paul, & Mary! One interpretaion I have read has all the workers of a manor house calling on the master and the mistress! Make sure you open that front door at Willow Manor, Sweetheart!

Kate, you are so good at saying so much in just a few words. Alas, I suffer the curse of the English major--wallowing in words!

Lyn said...

We rush into the new year as if being born again..but we are the past.. it's never gone, is it..and thankfully so!
A toast to Matthew and memories that embrace us! Happy New Year!

maggie's garden said...

So love that you had such a precious moment of sweet remembrance. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your blog is beautiful...and as I searched backwards into my own blog this evening I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your thoughtful, and insightful comments sprinkled through my pages. What a lovely spirit. You bring good vibration to this place we call blogging.
love to you,
maggie's garden caretaker, karen

willow said...

Now, I'm off to google those lyrics!! :)

Betsy said...

Happy New Year, FireLight! Gorgeous pic of you on the sidebar, here! Loved the story of the young men in the wonderful for you. I'm glad we met this year~

Anonymous said...

Dear Firelight as nearly everyone just getting around to visiting all those I would like to. I assume from your post that Matthew has passed into the glory that is heaven. It is such a sorrowful thing to lose someone but a blessing to feel when they touch you from above. I wish you and all your loved ones all the blessings of the New Year and look forward to following you this year. Have Google troubles, can't get on the followers list.

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight and Happy New Year!

I hope you and your family had an enjoyable time over the holidays.

As you say, memories make up our lives, good or bad and they all make us into the person we are.

BTW, unfortunately, I didn't receive the e-card you sent me but thank you for the kind thought. I look forward to keeping up with you in 2010.

FireLight said...

Derrick, one thing I have learned about myself from trying send E cards: I cannot read email addresses very well! However, I do perservere!

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat