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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Onwards and Upwards, Happy New Year!





   As we leave 2013 behind us and move into 2014, we look back and reflect on how our year has been. 2013 was not my best year, neither was it my worst. And for some of you, it wasn’t yours either. Nevertheless, a new year is upon us. At the end of each year we look forward to what is ahead of us and hope that what is behind us has taught us how to be better, and how to live better.
  We find ourselves new looking into that light at the end of the tunnel of 2013. Leaving the past and looking toward the future, with hope for the coming year. Hope for what the unknown might bring, and as long as we have hope we can keep moving on. "Hope guides me. It is what gets me through the day and especially the night", I remember this quote for a movie I watched ages ago, and it is the truest words I can think of tonight. So we will take those lessons we have learned and apply them to the New Year. We will Do better and Be better and be thankful for having the chance to do so. I will leave you with a favorite poem tonight. The poem describes a young man passing through a town bearing the banner "Excelsior" (translated from Latin as "ever higher", also loosely but more widely as "onward and upward"), ignoring all warnings, climbing higher until inevitably, "lifeless, but beautiful" he is found by the "faithful hound" half-buried in the snow, "still clasping in his hands of ice that banner with the strange device, Excelsior!"
This poem always remind me to keep moving forward, keep climbing, Onward and upward.

Excelsior! Happy New Year!

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
Excelsior!

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,
Excelsior!

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
Excelsior!

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Excelsior!

A traveler, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Excelsior!