In this moment, the promise of a new year is as tall as the thunderhead in the photo. Dense and electric and textured. All I have to do is reach out and grab it. The question is: why is seizing the day so hard?
Much is made of New Year’s resolutions. There are those who are into the anti-resolution, those who will only state their intentions, those who set goals, and even more who spend January 1 recovering from the final goodbye to the year before.
This week, I replaced all the photos on my inspiration wall with 8 x 10s of my favorite moments from 2014—vacation photos, vignettes of my starry-eyed teens, and a single shot of Bacon and I leaning against the sign marking the boundary to our personal paradise. They’re supposed to remind me of why I write. They’re my audience, but they also tie me to my comfort zone. I’m comfortable with my memories, even the miserable ones. Although it’s not on the wall, the cold night in the mud at the top of the mountain makes me wistful. After all, I lived to laugh about it.
It takes real strength to shove the clouds aside and focus on what’s ahead. Shaping the unknown into a new memory is the challenge of the new year. You’re invited to follow along. I’m sure to fall in the mud, but I’ll do my best to share a laugh about it.
I didn’t send any Christmas cards this year. Since today’s December 28, it doesn’t look like the box I’ve parked on my desk next to the cup of neon highlighters will be traveling your way any time soon. If I had sent them, I’d have included the snapshot above. It was taken last summer. Cherry and Coco are sitting on the ledge outside of a cave in the Pecos Wilderness east of Santa Fe, New Mexico. We’ve made the trek to the cave more than a few times. It’s a sacred place to us, so the walk is more pilgrimage than hike. I used to scream at Bacon not to lose my babies in the river that rushes into the mountain. It looks like something from The Hobbit. Now . . . well, you can see . . . my babies are young women, big enough to fend for themselves. We’re lucky. They still like to hang out with us in the woods.This has been a good year. Our girls are flourishing, and Bacon and I spend most of our time driving them places. I never think to take a picture of us in the car, but that’s where we spend the most time together. He took this photo of three of us in our backyard on Mother’s Day.
Cherry is a freshman at the high school where I used to teach. She’s on the swim team, making terrific grades, singing in the choir, and studying Oral Interpretation with my former student in a classroom I designed, but never occupied. Life is a full circle.
Coco is in the seventh grade. She’s in her fifth year of studying the violin. She’s equally comfortable with Dvorák, Vivaldi, and Taylor Swift. She’s a girl with definite opinions about who she is and what she wants. Sound like anyone you know?
We make time to be goofy—even if one of us is always weilding the camera instead of posing in front of it. I hope you had a terrific holiday, however and whatever you celebrate.
Best Wishes for 2015.
I ate at a favorite restaurant yesterday, Josephine’s. I love this place so much I used it as a setting in a novel.
Charlie’s Chili was an icehouse. Annie didn’t know what that meant before she became a Texan. The fact that the century old building once housed Finkle’s meat market said everything about its current incarnation.
It faced the end of a freeway exit ramp. That was why the owner left the tree. A live oak once grew up through the ceiling. Now, only the trunk remained, blocking the view from the door and forming a barricade to the patrons beyond. To the left was the bar. Booths lined the opposite wall, and tables filled the space between. The kitchen with its pass-through window anchored the back, and beside it, the hall to the restroom. Texas tunes played on the jukebox–Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Dixie Chicks, before and after their George W. Bush comments.
The food was local. The beer was cold. The crowd crammed in like planks in the hardwood floor, warped and wavy with the shifting times.