Weeks and weeks and weeks of drizzly grey; snow holds off but so does the sun, and it grows increasingly challenging to maintain the optimistic mood.
So I bought myself a hyacinth, guaranteed spring the minute you walk in the door, and set it on the sideboard without thinking. And then I saw friendship nestled under its generous arch ... and then I saw what friendship does to that which is grey and dreary and in need of spring.
Hyacinths are spring - they are laughter and complicity and the promise of all that is copious. I've been watching the frozen ground for my own garden to grow...
Are you still moving forward - or have your heart-wheels screeched to a stop? Listen closely... I am sounding the whistle for you.
Come with me and ride the rails! No one ever said it was going to be a rose garden, but no one said it had to be dreary, either. There are lovelier pastures to chug through yet, with less trash and less noise and less clutter.
Driving home from the train station we happened upon a pair of red shutters unceremoniously cast aside for the trash truck. Can you believe the Russian had pedaled by on his bike for at least two weeks straight, hoping beyond hope that I wouldn't see them and bring them home?
The mini-van was full of kids and friends, but we found room for them anyway, Sam huddling down in the back seat so they could pass over his head. And now my Sweet says they're beautiful and he's so happy I found them. Good grief!
But I hadn't wanted my destination to be foreign - I was just passing through, voyons! And yet, as a friend was explaining to me the reasons why she couldn't possibly live in Europe, the reasons to which I once subscribed myself, words crossed my lips and cut deep into my conscience; words so unlike what I had heretofore been proclaiming.
"I do believe this is the first time I've ever heard you speak in favor of the foreign," she said, slightly amused.
I am walking toward a place, living in a place, weaving existence in a place I thought I could not love.
What do you do when you get coal in your stocking?
Why, eat it, of course!
I'm thinking this is Trader Joe's way of making lemonade out of lemons, and as the snow falls from a sky that has been grey for weeks, I can't say that I blame them. I ate it all up yesterday while getting back into work after the holidays, wondering all the while if candy cane coal might be responsible for a nation-wide rise in bad behavior.
Love comes knocking at my door - in a shape and form I did not expect.
Foreign arms reach out and encircle me - and though I am embarrassed, I feel I have waited for them all my life.
Eyes I might once have misunderstood pierce my heart - and I find myself inextricably connected to something I was wont to disdain.
Snow falls and ice melts - love falls and heart melts.
I have learned there are no guard rails on love. There is only risk.
Some have asked what word I would pick to start 2012, and I stutter under my breath, "A single word for an entire year? I couldn't pick one for this minute!" And the icicle begins to drip; drip, drip, dripping on me. And I find my hands reaching out to fingers of trust and confidence. I daresay it is risk.
And I daresay I shall take it.
And it will either lead me out of my own fears once and for all, or bind me to them forever; but the time, I think, has finally come.
And I don't like pictures, I assume you know that by now.
With the holidays comes the traditional onslaught of merry photo shoots with family and friends, in the snow, by the fire, opening a present. If you don't have your smile down pat by the end of December, you will reap the consequences by early January. :)
This year I made an effort.
I thought... why be so afraid of what you look like on film? You don't look so different in real life (arg) and people see you like that every day! At first my smiles were teethy (ick on teethy), and then they were pinched and tight (friends say: Ick on pinched and tight), so I exercised my lips and tried to plump them up for a relaxed and natural look (family says; Why not look happy, mom?)... and finally settled on this:
I will look how I look when I look like it.
And this is how I looked on Christmas Eve as I thought of all those I love and hold dear. Zoom in on my eyes, and you will see your image reflected there as I pondered where you were and what you were doing on that night. As I sent hugs and warm thoughts your way...
It is late on this New Year's Day, and truly time for bed. The house is asleep, the children, the birds, the husband. One single candle glows as I haunt the house late into the night. I know it is time to sleep.
But tell me, can you sleep at night? Or do thoughts keep your mind pacing in the world of shadowed doors and windows?
I listened last night as hopes for a prosperous new year cascaded; some are so optimistic about what it will bring. Resolutions, dreams, promises to be better, to reach higher, to be more truthful, more faithful, more perfect! And I, stalking my own darkness, find myself reaching inside myself to pull out what is already there, to find some obscure part that is truly good and hold on to it. For this new year I wish nothing more than genuineness; I wish nothing more than true, uncompromising love; I wish nothing more than to live as the person I was meant to be - a daunting thought if you don't know who that is.
I may always pace the corridors of the night watch; the fear from which I run may never leave. But I hope you will haunt this path by my side.