The nighttime slowly changed to daytime as the hooting owl left the maple tree, and the morning birds snatched the quiet early morning and energized it with sounds and hurried movement. The old year is gone.
I am awake early wondering why, remembering those days when I ached for sleep, those days of babies and work and an endless series of things to do, and sleep was elusive and coveted.
The babies are gone now, and work is gone but somehow, I cannot wait for dawn, somehow, I want to see the new day roll in. I want to hear the early morning sounds that the sunrise will stop, and I want to watch the sky turn from star-studded darkness to brilliance as the sun comes over the horizon. I want to see the waning crescent moon from the window where I sit with my morning cup. I suppose it is some sort of assurance, this day beginning, this gift that I have yet another. Just as those sleepless nights with my babies were worth it, the miraculous arrival of a new day is also worth less sleep.
The year is only a few days old right now and we are still reflective of the old year and hopeful towards the new one. I am anxiously awaiting seed catalogs to crowd my mailbox and invigorate my imagination…plotting and planning my spring garden, hoping it will be ‘the best yet’. I noticed the hawks that sat on the wires above the sugarcane fields that I pass each day on my way into town are gone now. Since harvest, there were two hawks, most days, sitting patiently waiting for the farmers to cut the cane that caused the little field mice to scurry…eek! I wonder where the hawks will go now. The smoke and the sounds from the sugar mill are gone also.
Something special that occurs in January is The Epiphany … the story of the Magi, The Three Wise Men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the baby Jesus; it is such a beautiful part of The Christmas Story filled with visions and hope and intrigue, a wonderous way to end the Christmas season. I look for the North Star on a cold night and imagine…
On a lighter note, for Louisiana, January 6, the Epiphany, means King Cake Season has begun! The bakeries in Louisiana are bustling with rings of baked dough topped with colorful icings, each filled with a tiny ‘baby’; King Cakes are the chosen cake from Twelfth Night through Mardi Gras Day. My daughter, Elizabeth, is busy creating Galette des Rois cakes, a pastry the French enjoy commemorating the arrival of The Three Wise Men in Bethlehem…it is all so festive, enchanting, and delicious!
Allow me to end on a more personal note, and to include a bookmark noting the quick passage of time, mentioning the ‘start’ of this column. It began on a new year long ago, the New Year of 2006. I submitted my first Sunday column to The Daily Iberian. Will Chapman trusted me to take a once a month ‘slot’ of the revered Mr. Morris Raphael’s column, the Second Front. I was feeling less than confident and had little idea as to what to write. Mr. Raphael’s column centered around the history of New Iberia and interesting places he had visited and people he had spoken with. I had no connection to either. So, I decided to write what I knew and loved, the world outside of my backdoor and the beautiful people from my past and present that I have encountered …so began Berry Tales in January 2006, eighteen ‘short’ years ago. I submit a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to those of you who have read my simple words throughout the years; I hope some of my musings, here and there, have made you happy. Anyway, I wanted to start this year with a display of gratitude…I appreciate you and extend best wishes for this new year that is upon us.
January 6, 2023