A New Year

new year - 1


We are home to start the New Year.  Cormac, 10 years old, sent me a text from California last night, “We r missing u here!!!!”, including the emoji of a face crying copious tears.  Yep–as always, as good as it is to be snuggled back into our cozy, quiet home, we r missing u too, very much.  Scant snow fell while we were gone, but it’s bitter cold here this morning.  The winter stars were brilliant, with the waning crescent moon lighting up the trees in the east.  The kitties got to come in for a little fireside visit last night, but Chatpeau is happily asleep out on the porch, curled into the wool throw on the Adirondack chair.  We get ready for Winter, and a new year.

Every New Year’s Eve, I think about possible resolutions or intentions, and contemplate the enormity of the blank slate of a brand new year.  There was that one year I wrote down five things about myself that I wanted to purge, and wrote each of them on a little piece of rice paper, and then burned them one by one in the fireplace.  I can’t remember what they were, so I don’t know if I was purged.  I was reading earlier this morning about traditions around the world, and after I learned how in Japan, at midnight, temple bells ring 108 times, matching the need to be purified before the New Year, I felt exhausted before this day even got underway.

So, I don’t know…it’s still early and morning alpine glow has turned the snow on Blacktail Mountain, across the lake, a lovely shade of pink.  I can see lights now over there, as people begin to wake up and start their final day of another year.  The lake is quiet, a lovely shade of baby blue/ pale lavender, and a dozen or so ducks just paddled by close to shore, going south.  Before he left to ski, Don made his famous green chili, so the warm house is filled with New Mexican memories of kiva fireplaces, farolitos on adobe rooftops, and the smell of piñon pine.  I could take down the Christmas tree, but it is so enchanting come dusk, as l’heure bleue spreads that beautiful shade of winter blue behind the reds and golds which glitter on the Grand Fir tree.

The ducks are now floating back up this way, so, perhaps, it’s time to get a move on.  Maybe, I’ll just start with breakfast, over a few more good poems, and go from there, on this final day, before the new year gets underway.

Starlings in Winter, by Mary Oliver
Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

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