Goodbye 2010…Hello 2011

Goodbye 2010…Hello 2011
Last sunset of 2010

The sun sets over Rockland Harbor for the last time in 2010 (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

With New Year’s Eve upon us, my family and I decided it would be neat to view “milestone light” passing and arriving with the flip of the calendar.

Up first was the chance to witness the last rays of light in 2010 before they disappeared over Rockland Harbor’s western horizon a tad after 4:00 pm on December 31st.

Having grown accustomed of late to bundling up as winter strengthens its grip, it came as a surprise that high pressure had won the day, causing temperatures to climb near 50 degrees on the last day of the year.

I for one wasn’t ecstatic about the presence of the mild air, for that meant our beautiful white blanket of icy crystals was now clashing with thermal air on the rise in a battle my beloved snow-cover could not win.

Snow drifts

The left over snow drifts from the "Blizzard of 2010" seemed out of place as temperatures rose to 50 degrees on the last day of the year (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

So while there was a comfortable feel to the evening, it was sprinkled with a dash of melancholy too – though I was keenly aware of the fact that my opinion was not shared by all.

Ironically, the seascape was a total contrast to the senses as we walked along the beach near Rockland Breakwater, and maybe fittingly so given the fact that this one particular evening was representing the passing of an entire year.

Though the air was delightfully mild, it was an arduous effort to physically access the beach due to the presence of ample snow still piled high in drift-like fashion over the path. The once formidable snow drifts, now sinking fast and losing their fearsome shape, were left behind by the “Blizzard of 2010” that had passed through the region just four days prior.

Then there was the sweet smell of rockweed permeating the air – a summer-like aroma that grew stronger on the evening’s ebb tide, but yet the harbor was resoundingly silent, save the humming of a lone lobster boat plying across Penobscot Bay. The silence was a stark reminder that the season for playfully enjoying the bay’s sparkling brine had long since passed.

Color fades from the evening sky on December 31, 2010 (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Color fades from the evening sky on December 31, 2010 (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

As for the last rays of light in 2010, the evening’s sunset was conservative in splendor, but pleasing nonetheless. I found myself admiring the unfolding scene in the western sky not so much for the beauty of its colorful glow, but rather for the symbolism that radiated forth on each sunbeam.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, it was a moment for reflection. For all its highs, lows, smiles and tears, the sun’s departure on this day meant we were now turning the page and closing the book on another year in time. The year 2010 was in effect saying goodbye, leaving us with 365 days of memories to cherish forever in its wake.

My family and I were not alone along the Rockland Breakwater to watch the year’s last sunset take its bow. The overtures of warm air brought a host of people out to the breakwater, each observing this final act in their own way – some laughing together and talking about their New Year’s Eve plans, while others could be heard sharing comments about the moment’s significance and how it should be remembered.

Next up – the dawn of a new year!

Cloud cover on New Year's Day 2011

Cloud cover shrouded sunrise over Rockland Harbor on New Year's Day 2011 (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Rising early around 5:30 am, I peeked outside and discovered a thick blanket of clouds looming above – a scene sure to shroud the first rays of sunlight if the cover didn’t break soon. The weather forecast was promising party sunny conditions in the offing for New Year’s Day along Midcoast Maine, but the question in my mind was would such cheeriness take hold sooner than later.

Undaunted, Ann and I drove over to western end of Rockland Harbor and staked out a position that would afford a front row seat to first light in the east should the sun’s beams break through damper.

In the end, sunrise at 7:11 am was a non-event due to overcast and party-pooper conditions. Somewhere the sun was rising in majestic fashion on New Year’s Day, but not over Rockland Harbor.

I was about to turn and leave when another light – far less in brilliance, but stunning nevertheless, caught my eye. It was the friendly flash of Rockland Breakwater Light beaming forth and shimmering across the placid waters of the harbor. It was at this moment when I realized the importance of the scene that exceeded the boundaries of the light’s navigational function.

The sky was uncertain in its mood, blocking out the sun’s radiance in the process. Just the same, none of us know what the New Year will bring now that 2010 has given way to 2011, but one thing is for sure… in the same manner the gleam of the lighthouse beamed forth, so too do our hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow.

Rockland Breakwater Light

The sunrise may have been obscured on New Year's Day, but the light of opportunity afforded by the dawn of a new year was still shining bright (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

At first, the lack of sun’s grand presence at dawn was a bit disappointing, but this void was quickly replaced by the symbolism of other shining opportunities – if only we look close enough around us.

May we all seize these types of shining opportunities in our lives during 2011 and share them with our families and friends no matter what the year brings us, for many of life’s real gleaming moments are found where we least expect them – and most always in the company of those dear to us.

Happy New Year and bless God Bless each and every one of us 2011!