In a year that was memorable for me personally, it’s easy for some moments to become overshadowed by more dramatic and attention-grabbing events. Those headlining memories earned their starring roles by virtue of how they altered my life, or at least my perception of that life. Tracing back through the year, they were:
December 13 – The release of my debut novel – “Harvest of the Heart”
November 25 – My daughter’s first, sudden “attack”, experienced a few weeks after giving birth to her first child. The symptoms were similar to those of a pulmonary embolism. Though it turned out to be caused by gallstones, and surgery has eliminated that cause, the first episode scared me to the core.
November 4 – Being present at the birth of my fifth grandchild. I am forever grateful to my son-in-law, who felt comfortable enough with my wife and I to allow us to help with the delivery. My four children were all born at home and witnessing Chaitan’s birth brought back so many strong memories.
March 11 – Completion of the manuscript for “Harvest of the Heart”. It was then that I knew that I had a chance — after thirty-seven years of biding my time in jobs that I only tolerated — to have a job that I loved.
You can see how these events could overwhelm my perception of this year when I look back from some future date. But there were many other small moments that I wouldn’t want overwhelmed… or lost to a failing memory:
Cutting trees for firewood in the forest by myself and dropping them exactly where I wanted. Then going back again with witnesses and having one blow over in the exact opposite direction from where I wanted it to go. The disconcerted expression on my son-in-laws face during that was likely matched only by my own.
Staying at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park; it was a surprise gift from my wife for completing “Harvest of the Heart”. Stephen King had stayed in the same hotel and it was there he got the idea for “The Shining”. The entire trip was filed with memorable moments which have already produced a story for me.
So many running memories… porcupine quills and downhill mile intervals at 10,000 feet; doing the Silent Trails pre-run at night with a bunch of guys way faster than me — it felt good to know that there is still a little life in these old legs; qualifying for Boston after once thinking that it might never happen again; the ghost moose run, the Christmas spirit run and so many more. Thanks to Dailymile, I just have to click back to discover those memories.
Snowshoeing during my ten-day fast and my wife coming back to me on the trail and giving me a kiss “to give me energy”. That hike may have been the first she had ever led during our thirty-five years of marriage and she was so careful to choose a path that was easy enough for me to handle.
The looks on grandsons Braden’s and Nathan’s faces while they watched the bull-riding at their first rodeo when they visited in July.
How helpless I felt when confronted by the heartache of someone dear to me who had to endure a painful separation from someone he loved, but who no longer loved him.
Seven-week old Chaitan staring so deeply into my eyes and being moved by the knowledge that those eyes will see so much that is beautiful and horrible in the years to come; hoping that maybe he’ll help preserve the beauty, and eliminate the horrible.
Shopping at the Cross Country Connection in Laramie and my wife trying on a winter hat that framed her face so perfectly. I was stunned by how beautiful she still is; and how much her smile still makes my heart beat faster.
There are certainly many other moments that I haven’t mentioned, or are already forgotten, or at least I cannot call them to mind as I write this post. But it was those small moments, remembered or not, that complemented and filled the spaces between the large ones and made 2011 a truly memorable and happy year.
I wish for you that 2012 will be just as memorable and happy as my 2011.