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It's a New Dawn

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

“Fish in the sea

You know how I feel

River running free

You know how I feel

Blossom on a tree

You know how I feel

It's a new dawn

It's a new day

It's a new life

For me

And I'm feeling good”

  • Nina Simone

Wow! What a year it’s been. So many places. So many people. So many stories. So many opportunities. So many adventures. So much to be thankful for, and so many people to thank.

The turning of the page from one year to the next seems to have always been a significant sign post in my bouncing, bumbling journey through life. More than birthdays or first days of school, the collective feelings of transition, evolution, and reflection of New Years mark time in a special way.

As a young nerdy kid in Hilton Head, Mom would drag me along to Renaissance Weekend events to learn new things from smart people that her friends had collected together. As a slightly older nerdy kid in Hilton Head, I’d beg Mom to help me get in to those same events over the few days that connected one year to the next. Learning cool stuff and being challenged to think in new ways became a New Years tradition that I looked forward to fulfilling.

Somewhere in between, I remember running around on the beach with sparklers and shooting off roman candles before gathering around the television to watch the fireworks shows from around the world. Sydney was a reliable favorite with the iconic Opera House and Harbor Bridge setting a dramatic stage and symbolizing how much of the world was out there to see. It seemed like we were watching a live broadcast from another planet.

During the first few years of SouthEast Expeditions, I was often bouncing around Florida with a truck full of kayaks looking for winter work. Bo Page, my favorite organic farming, black belt, banjo savant guru, would always have some eclectic and fascinating event for us to attend to start and / or end the year. Jam session in the swamps outside Gainesville - check. "Organic Juice Party" - a gathering of nomads & hippies with no alcohol - just dozens of juicers cranking out crazy concoctions non-stop all night - check. Everglades Mullet & Bluesgrass Appreciation Society - sign me up.

Living in St. Thomas, we would celebrate Old Years Day, (I actually wrote about that here.) gathering with old and new friends to put the year to bed as the sun sank into the dark blue waters of the Caribbean.

And today I was able to revisit a Hawaiian tradition that is appropriate for any day, but feels a little more significant on New Year, the Hi’u Wai. Hi'u Wai is at it's core a ceremony to welcome the sun in to the sky, and to cleanse your spirit and soul in the ocean - washing away anything that may be holding you down and breathing in the new energy of a fresh new day.

So I put the year to bed last night as the sun set over Kalapaki Bay, toasting the highs, lows, lefts, rights, and bumps of 2022 from my lanai. Back home in Kauai for a bit, soaking in the time with so many friends I’ve missed so much this year.

And this morning I greeted the sun with my dear friends Ku’ulei and Kalani and some of their Ohana. As we chanted the sun into the sky, it lit the entire horizon on fire before making its dramatic debut. Wading out into the water to let life’s stresses wash away and to soak up the energy of the ocean, I watched the spray from the waves breaking on the rocks splash up into the sunlight and sparkle bright red, deep purple, and neon orange. A school of small silver fish cruised by matching the light show with flashy sparkles of their own.

Floating for a few moments in the middle of this dynamic art show, I was reminded of just how lucky I am to enjoy experiences like this and to have such special people to share them with.

So I just want to say “Thank you” to all of my amazing friends and family who make my life so much better every day. I have brothers and sisters from other mothers and other misters around the world, a dozen or more “best friends” - some of whom I haven’t seen in years, and an embarrassment of riches in the “wonderful people in my life” department. Each of you bring something special to my life, and I love you for it.

I am starting off 2023 with optimism, enthusiasm, love in my heart, and a smile on my face. There are exciting adventures and opportunities ahead. There are some major hurdles and obstacles I need to overcome. And who knows what surprises lie just around the corner. But I have everything I need to continue my journey. I have you. And for that I am grateful.

Have an awesome f’ing year! Start it off strong. And please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you along your journey. If you need a cheerleader down the stretch, an open set of ears in the middle of the night, a shoulder to cry on or a hand to lift you up, call any time. If you need to share a victory, bounce an idea, or tell a funny story, call any time. If you just want to say hello and catch up, call any time. So many of you have been there for me so many times. I can’t aspire to match your collective awesomeness all by myself, but I’ll do my best to support you and reflect back the joy, support, love, and positivity that you’ve given me.



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