We’ve Wandered Many a Weary Foot

Free to use image from flickr.com

Robert Burns, the Scotsman who lived just 37 years, penned the words to “Auld Lang Syne” when he was 29. Burns sent a copy to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788 with a note, saying “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man.” While it wasn’t originally intended for New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay in Scotland, it soon became a favorite song for the last evening of the year.

Is it right that old times be forgotten? This is the first question posed in “Auld Lang Syne.” And should old acquaintance, old friends, be forgotten, too? I hope not!

I think of the many connections I’ve made over the years. Some (too many) have passed away, but I’m comforted by fond memories of times spent together. Some have faded away, meaning the connection just isn’t there anymore. And that’s okay, too. A few have shown themselves to be something other than a friend, which is sad, but it happens. But for those that are still with me – thank you. I do treasure you. You matter to me. And while I can’t shake your hand or hug you hard this year, I will raise a cup o’ kindness – to you, to better days, decency, and to good health.

We have indeed wandered many a weary foot in 2020, even if we’ve mostly been at home. I don’t know about you, but I’m wrung out. Of course there have been good days, and laughter (thanks to my husband), and hope (each day dawns fresh), and I remain confident that the coming year will bring about change, (slow) healing, and promise. I have to believe it.

So, as I have have done in the past, I will leave you with my favorite version of “Auld Lang Syne.” Happy New Year!

“The seas between us have roared and swelled…”

Here’s the link to my favorite version of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Days of Auld Lang Syne


I wanted to write one more post, in this busy, blurry time between holidays. What words will sum up 2015 for you? In spite of the precarious state of our world (climate, terror, finances, politics), I will offer these:

  • Hope. Without hope, we live in a world full of despair. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. ” (Emily Dickinson)
  • Remembrance. Many of my friends lost loved ones this year, and whether death was expected or not, there is a loss. Fill it with fond memories. “There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” (Aeschylus)
  • Words. Written or spoken, read or heard, words are powerful. Choose them carefully. “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” (Yehuda Berg)
  • Challenge. Life is hard! Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, it’s simply right. “My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see.” (Muhammad Yunus)
  • Warmth. Yes, our planet is heating up. Ice is melting, winter is warm. Do your little part. “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” (John Muir)

And, as I do each year, here is my favorite performer singing a beautiful song for year’s end. Peace.

A Cup o’ Kindness

My husband won’t listen to “Auld Lang Syne.” He says it makes him too sad. I get that. The song, usually only played or sung on New Year’s Eve, evokes memories – of the year past, of many years passed. Memories can evoke regret, remind us of what is lost.

Last year’s post featured a regret, but also revealed my acceptance and reconciliation, and wishes for “a cup o’ kindness.” This year there’s some regret as well, but my heart is full of hope. A few fences were mended. Some colleagues and contemporaries passed, too young, but those somber events offered opportunities to reconnect, if only for a short time. I’m grateful for that, and for the many people I’ve met (in person and online) in 2014. People pass through our lives for a reason, I’m convinced of that.

For each of those moments, I raise a cup of kindness. And give you the best version of “Auld Lang Syne.”



Old Long Since


I lost a friend about twenty years ago. It was because I gave unsolicited advice. No matter if I was right or not, it didn’t matter. I gave unsolicited advice and it broke apart our friendship for years. We mended it about eight years ago, patched it up as best we could, made peace, offered forgiveness. I showed up to her father’s funeral, she attended my mother’s wake. But so much time had passed. Her children grew up. Our lives changed and matured. The seas between us have roared and swelled. For her, my “trusty friend,” I raise a cup of kindness. For you, too.

It’s the best version of a song sung at the end of the year.

“Auld Lang Syne”  Kate Taylor
A new translation of the ballad “Old Long Since,” a poem by National Poet Robert (“Robbie”) Burns written in 1792 from a Scottish folk song of the 1680s.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne

We two have run about the hills
and gathered flowers fine
we wandered many a weary foot
since auld lang syne

We two have sported in the brook
from morning sun til dine
but seas between us have roared and swelled
since auld lang syne

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
the seas between us have roared and swelled
since auld lang syne

And here’s a hand my trusty friend
and give a hand of thine
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet
for auld lang syne

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
we’ll take a cup of kindness
for auld lang syne


Lyrical adaptation by Charles H. Witham
Kate Taylor:  vocal and guitar
musical arrangement by James Taylor

© Devil’s Bridge Music BMI, katetaylor.com

A Cup o’ Kindness

Reflections on 2012:

  • I became a published author! Finally realized a dream, one that followed me for decades through jobs that weren’t suited to my abilities (but jobs I did well anyway). It was after the lowest point in my professional life, one that still hurts to revisit, that I learned to follow my passion. And I learned a lot about the state of publishing today: I made mistakes, but along the way I also connected with some wonderfully thoughtful and supportive writers. Independent authors understand other indies. They provide words of encouragement. They cheerlead. They get it. Sadly, a few traditionally published authors let me down, big time. They may do well to recall the times when they were just starting out.
  • We made some major adjustments in the way we live. As a couple with no children and nearly zero debt, my husband and I had lived well when I was employed. We saved a lot but enjoyed what was left. I no longer receive a hefty paycheck every other week. And the economy is, well, precarious to say the least. Sharing a cup of coffee on the promontory of rocks at Beavertail Lighthouse, watching the Atlantic Ocean rush in as the sun lowers itself to the horizon, is a priceless indulgence.
  • Mended a fence or two with estranged friends. Sometimes a misunderstanding or miscommunication (especially through e-mail) can create a crack. That crack can turn into an abyss over time. Some friendships are worth saving – reach out and make the first move if it matters less who is right or wrong. That being said, let some relationships go. Moving on occasionally means releasing those who can’t move with you, and anyone who simply brings you down isn’t worth the trouble.
  • I read a lot of books. You want to be a better writer? Keep reading. Get an e-reader or stick with printed books, or choose both. Read whatever you like. Just read.
  • So much violence, so many heartbreakingly sad news stories. Nothing will change without meaningful discussion, and it’s not just about guns. It’s also about mental health and how we treat it. It’s about the desensitization of violence through movies and video games. And, of course, it’s about money.
  • I’d still love to retire to Switzerland. A couple of women I know have married and moved there, and yes, I know it’s not Utopia. Either way, I’ll keep dreaming about a return visit.
  • I’m going to stop at 400 words, because someone once told me to keep my blog at 400. Wishing you peace, warmth, love, and health for 2013. I raise my cup o’ kindness to you with this beautiful rendition by my favorite singer: