January 1, 2018 § 1 Comment
The borders between the years are meaningless from a “things are bound to change” point of view. Luck and Chance and Fate don’t care what the date is, be it Monday or January or 2018. There’s absolutely no reason why anything should suddenly get better.
But we stick up a new calendar and turn the page, and we sigh in relief that we survived the past 12 months. We hope for a better dozen to come.
I began to see the vague outline of this year around the beginning of December. I know this will be a year of hard work. Boards need pulling up and earth needs moving and what last year broke still needs to be fixed. Root causes need to be uprooted to allow for new growth.
With luck and perseverance and a little help from others, 2018 will be a year of repair, of redirection, of rebuilding. Changing the landscape. Making improvements that are long, long overdue.
I’m going to try to shape it into a productive year. Apart from the pulling and hauling, I want to start creating again. My litany every January First is always “read more and finish writing the book.” This year, it’s “start reading again and finish writing a book.”
My nightstand staggers beneath an epic to-read pile, and a few unfinished manuscripts wait for me to finish writing them. Lately, one story in particular has been tugging at my sleeve. I’ll take a look at it soon to see if the book in my memory is as good as the one I put onto the hard drive.
I’ve slowly started eating better (shut up, I hear you laughing at the leftover charcuterie I ate for breakfast; I said “slowly”). I’ve begun moving more. Hitting the elliptical machine, doing pushups, trying to de-flab this aging body. That, too, will be part of the pulling and hauling this year.
What the year ahead looks like other than that, I don’t know. I’m going to try to fully enjoy the good times while they last, and endure the bad times with patience and kindness. I’m going to try to not worry about what’s to come until it gets here. I won’t always succeed, but I’ll keep trying.
I hope you will, too, and that together we shape something beautiful.
November 23, 2017 § 1 Comment
The Plymouth colonists boarded the Mayflower for an ill-planned journey to a land in which they had no idea how to survive. Half of them died in the first year, and the other half would have died, too, had it not been for the friendship of this land’s indigenous people. The Abenaki. The Pawtuxet. The Wampanoag.
And especially Squanto, who’d had a terrible history with white people: he’d been taken into captivity by an English sea captain, sold into slavery, escaped, and made his way back to his home as part of an exploratory expedition.
And yet, offered his friendship to the Pilgrims. Taught them how to survive.
That’s why I see Thanksgiving as a celebration of friendship.
Richard Bach once wrote, “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”
I’ve quoted that often and I’ll quote it again, because I believe it.
I’m thankful for the family of friends I’ve gathered around me. Whether we’re linked through blood or shared passions or work or any of the other myriad ways people come into our lives, I’m thankful for you.
I’m thankful for the love I have in my life.
I’m thankful for the support I’ve been given, and the second chances, and the friendships that haven’t broken even when I’ve been distant or angry or terrible or all of the above.
I’m thankful for the forgiveness I’ve been shown, even when I’ve been unforgivable.
I’m thankful for those who’ve shown me how to survive, each time I’ve stumbled into a new land for which I was woefully unprepared.
I’m thankful for more than I know how to put into words.
If I had a TARDIS or a DeLorean that could travel through time, I’d visit every one of you today and hug you until our eyes leaked. Because I am thankful for you.
We may talk every day, or we may only exchange a few words now and then. We may see each other often; we may not have seen each other for years. Maybe we’ve drifted apart. Maybe we’ve only talked once, for a few minutes. Maybe we’re just “Facebook friends.”
Regardless, I am thankful for you. I am thankful to have you in my life.
October 18, 2017 § Leave a comment
It’s a photography term, meaning the hour just after sunrise or before sunset, where the light across the landscape turns everything varying shades of gold.
There’s a medical definition for it, too:
- the first hour after the occurrence of a traumatic injury, considered the most critical for successful emergency treatment.
I caught the golden hour (in the photographic sense) this morning. Normally, I’m in the shower at that time, waiting for the hot spray to restore the blood flow to my brain. This morning, I woke an hour before the alarm and couldn’t get back to sleep, so … golden hour.
There’s construction across the street from the office, a steel skeleton of a building at this point; its silver bones gleamed pink gold. Passing cars winked bright orange flashes as their windows caught the rising sun. Every pale curb and post glowed rosy.
For a moment, the only sound was the soft gurgle of the coffeemaker as I watched the world dance in the dawn of the new day.
Nothing deep, today. Just a reminder that every new day is filled with golden hours.
(Photo Credit: Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=267594)
October 17, 2017 § Leave a comment
It’s colder here. After summer temperatures lingered into last weekend, autumn has finally arrived. I woke up chilled beneath two blankets, and had to warm the bathroom with the space heater before I was willing to crawl out of my robe.
Time for long pants and thick socks and extra blankets on the bed. Cuddling close, stealing warmth from others and giving it in return. Chilly hands and ghostly breath.
Last year about this time, I said that I’m a summer creature. Not myself in any other season. I had no idea then how true that was. No idea that even in summer, this year, I would not be myself.
Now the year shows its gray. The path ahead is shorter than the path behind. But it still has teeth and claws, and strength enough to do more damage. I don’t expect it to go quietly into the lengthening night.
The sun will spend fewer hours in the sky from here on out. It’s the moon’s turn to dominate, and the stars. I’m strangely comfortable with that, this year. I welcome it.
Right now, the clouds have cleared. The sun shines bright and strong, even though there’s still a chill in the air. But summer’s childish play is over. Autumn’s toil begins: mulch the leaves, stack wood for the fires, get out the down blankets and the thick sweaters.
Do the work needed. Keep doing it.
Time to welcome the moon.
August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe in the supernatural. No afterlife, no ghosts, no gods or devils, heavens or hells. I trust science, and so far, science has found no evidence that there’s something after death. Just darkness and silence.
And yet sometimes — sometimes — something happens that makes me wonder, just for a moment, if maybe there is an undiscovered country. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 5, 2017 § Leave a comment
The walls have thorns. The paths are full of sharp stones. The leaves beneath your feet have been trodden black by millions who have come before you.
Weren’t you just here? You are not prepared for this. You never are.
Pick a path. Start walking.
Get out of the bed. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair.
Always turn right. Isn’t that what they say to do? Or is it left?
Take your pills and fight to keep them down. Pack something bland for lunch. Half a sandwich, perhaps.
If it’s dark, look to the moon. If she hasn’t been hung yet, find a sprinkle of stardust.
Make a list. Start at the top. Check things off, one by one by one.
The bees will bring you honeyed memories. Each one will sting. They’ll be the only treasures you’ll find here.
Listen to classical music, and let the waves of it wash over you. Waltz in the blue Danube.
Is there a way out this time? You can’t see it. You may never find it. Keep moving.
Call your mom.
If you find a bottle of sweet wine, speak to it of nothings.
Chew gum; it keeps you from clenching your teeth.
Comfort the small creatures and let them comfort you.
Sleep, if you can. When you can.
Sing a song to greet the dawn. One of the old ones. One of the sad ones.
Keep walking. Keep turning right. Or is it left?
June 7, 2017 § Leave a comment
There are still books to be read, and be written.
There are still spring flowers and summer fireflies and autumn leaves and the hush of winter snowfalls.
There are still sunrises and sunsets to see.
There are still roads not taken, trails not explored, mountains not climbed.
There are still adventures you’ve not had.
There are still grandeurs yet to see, and beauties yet to lift your heart and expand your mind and soothe your soul.
There are still canyons to call into.
There are still milestones to celebrate.
There are still conversations to be enjoyed, by firelight or candlelight or in the dark or in the pub.
There are still friends you have and friends you’ve yet to meet.
There are still reeds bent low by raging rivers, standing tall when the waters calm.
There are still all these, and more.
If you are weary, pause from the fight (but only pause). Be still. Breathe.
Remember what you fight for, and why. There are still so many good things worth the battle.