Keep the lights on
As I get older, life is so much more poignant. Entering a new year, after a good one having passed, you feel as if the time gone is sacred somehow. Everyone healthy, everyone good. And you enter the next on a prayer and a whisper, "Let this one be as good."
This of course comes from the lucky. For others the new year is a time to start again, to shed the past, to begin. Again. Some are so ready for the old year to rest and the new year to begin.
Most of us have something we need to shed, and most of us have something we need to renew.
Last night I went to see the movie Napoleon with my family. There we were together, bags of popcorn in our lap. In the dark looking up at the big screen. A simple pleasure, lost in a revolution, sent into exile, returned, then sent again. A life of drama on the screen. But in the seats we were free of it, free to get lost in a story. So free.
Today I wake up and know I'll go to the frame and hook the sea. Again.
But somehow it never seems enough. That if I hook it once more it will be better. The turquoise will be stronger, the waves will meet the bay in a way they never did before. Me in my little life in a room perched above a winter field. No snow, just grass and trees with barren branches. So beautiful in its' austerity and its plainness. What once looked empty now looks so full.
Everything feels tender at the beginning. Uncertain. And this can be true for a new year too. We are just getting to know it at the same time we are beginning to shut out our Christmas lights. Perhaps we need them a little longer to light the way. Maybe all of January we need a little glow to warm us. I will keep mine on.
I need a lamp. I need the light that shines from it, on me, and in me. I am the one to hold it out for myself. This is my job in a life. To hold the lamp for myself and for someone else who might need it. Winter is long but it is worthy of the time we spend here. It lets us wrap ourselves in the comfort we crave. And it lets us think. We can stack books beside our chair. Read a novel in a day sometimes. Pile rugs to show in spring. Make stew. Why would we ever make chicken stew in July?
Winter waits. It waits for us to catch up with ourselves. It waits for us so we will realize the beauty of the moment. A snowflake that lands on your mitt and you can see its' complex structure and be struck with awe.
A calendar turns and you see that you spent another year and you ask yourself,
Did I spend it well?
Did I love the moments, the hours the days?
Did I notice myself moving through time?
And with your answers you enter the next year with a prayer on your lips for yourself, and for those you love. You pray on your knees, or with your hands, or with your words. Maybe you scrub and clean, maybe you make, maybe you sing. We all have our ways.
We all find our way.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick