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OK, so Christmas Eve was alone and New Year’s Eve is alone. But big woo. It’s fine.
My time at the Hot Springs was good. I did a lot of work, a lot of writing, a lot of thinking, a lot of soaking and a bit of crying. On some of the travel boards on which I participate, people write trip reports when they go places – sort of like a journal of what they did, where they ate, what was interesting. Cottonwood is not exactly geared for that kind of report. What I wound up writing was a daily lyric poem of my experience – more feelings, thoughts, sensations, revelations. Not your typical trip report. I’m not sure yet if I want to publish it here – still debating in my head.
Lots and lots of writers have been talking about new year’s resolutions or their lack thereof. No reason for me not to do the same.
I don’t have any, really. I’m taking a different approach this year, a more psychocybernetic, secret, law of attraction approach. (Go ahead you naysayers, make poofy faces and roll your eyes, shake your heads in disdain and sign at my delusions, it’s okay.) My landlady introduced to a strange, encouraging messaging thingy last year called Notes From the Universe. Every other day or so, I get an email. I really liked today’s. I’ll quote the most important part of it here. Keep in mind that this is not to offend, belittle or minimize anyone’s religious beliefs.
“1. Give thanks that life is… just as it is (and that it’s been… just as it’s been). Because of it, you’re now “READY.”
2. Define what you want in terms of the end result. Don’t worry about the hows, or even the course. KNOW that what you want is ALREADY yours in spirit, by divine LAW, just focus on the certainty of this ownership, understand it, claim it, and “it will be on earth, as it is in heaven (spirit).”
3. LET THE UNIVERSE show you the way via your impulses and instincts that appear as you take inspired action. Don’t worry that your first steps seem silly or futile. And if you don’t know what to do, do anything! Go! Get busy! Do not insist on intermediary successes, only upon the end result.”
I like these suggestions. I am going to try to follow them. I have spent some time today – and will spend some more time tonight – crafting a few powerful statements that resonate with me, that enable me to feel my future as my present, that basically act on #2 above.
Yes, it’s a new approach, but hey, why not? Last year certainly wasn’t a banner year, and frankly, I don’t want to dwell on it anymore. I don’t want to live in the pain of loss, loss of so many things. That’s no way to live, and no way to act. And according to some universal law theorists, it’s best not to say too much about your evolved reality to too many people. So, my apologies, but most elements of my new reality will remain a mystery until I am living the end results.
Then we’ll all have even more reason to celebrate – but for now, for tonight and all nights, I wish you all joy.
Still and Surely
We can sit at any table in any tavern in the world
And I will still hold your heart gently between my two hands.
I do not want to love you, but I cannot seem to help myself.
The spirit that shines through you, cloud shrouded though it may be
in these tired days
Speaks to mine in a language only we two can know.
I can sit alone, buried beneath sorrows and dreams
And still feel you as surely as I feel the wind blowing off the winter sea
As surely as the birds dip and plunge off imaginary coastal cliffs,
As surely as the sun creeps lower and lower into the blue-consuming darkness.
Your tender heart matches mine beat for beat despite miles of land and longing.
I wish I could not feel it
but I do.
But if I didn’t
if I didn’t
There is no choice in it – there is no if I didn’t.
Love is not a choice, it is a fate, it is a fable,
It is a tale reserved for candlelit darknesses at rough wooden tables
with the sound of the ocean singing distant in our ears.
(Submitted for Thursday Poet’s Rally – Week 36)
Today’s guest poet – Edith Nesbit
Good-bye, good-bye; it is not hard to part!
You have my heart — the heart that leaps to hear
Your name called by an echo in a dream;
You have my soul that, like an untroubled stream,
Reflects your soul that leans so dear, so near –
Your heartbeats set the rhythm for my heart.
What more could Life give if we gave her leave
To give, and Life should give us leave to take?
Only each other’s arms, each other’s eyes,
Each other’s lips, the clinging secrecies
That are but as the written words to make
Records of what the heart and soul achieve.
This, only this we yield, my love, my friend,
To Fate’s implacable eyes and withering breath.
We are still yours and mine, though by Time’s theft,
My arms are empty and your arms bereft.
It is not hard to part — not harder than Death;
And each of us must face Death in the end!
Well, Christmas has thankfully come and gone. Never in my life have I had such a shortage of the holiday spirit, nor been so glad to see Santa in the rearview mirror of my soul.
It wasn’t a bad Christmas in itself – it was the lead-up to it. As ooky as Christmas Eve was, Christmas Day was quite pleasant. I went to Pat and Kelsea’s house, my nieces came, and we had a very nice time. Then my nieces and I spent about 3 hours in the ER at the local hospital, due to Niece #2’s kidney infection. Even that was nice – Niece #1 is in a similar life situation as I, so we talked a lot while Niece #2 was under the influence of a couple of Percosets.
Returning home, I just sort of noodled around. I introduced my newest family member – Dude – to the house:
I am a strange person, and this is something I’ve always wanted. Dude came as a gift from my former guy. It was tough being without my former guy at Christmas. I had chosen things for him with joy, pleasure and love, and I had been so looking forward to sharing the revelation of such gifts with him – I know he enjoyed said revelation without me and for that I am glad. He spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with friends, and I am glad for that as well. I will tell him though, that if he wants to see what it’s like to go it alone, he should try spending Christmas Eve alone, as I did. It’s about the truest experience of being alone that there is. But (perhaps fool that I am), I still love him and would never wish that on him or another living soul.
That’s in the past now, and even though it’s not the New Year, I think of this post-Christmas period as the start of the new year. All the holiday fuss has died down, and we can move onto the next thing, and the next thing is the next year, even if the calendar page hasn’t turned yet.
I hope that I and the people I love can find their way to peace in months to come. I hope that love returns to me in the next year. I hope for new adventures and reawakened dreams. There’s much I hope for. I’ll save some of that for another day’s writing. Right now, it just feels good to feel a little bit better. I know all the bad feelings will swing back around, but I appreciate it when they’re gone.
I’ve always been a Christmas Day gift opener. I have wonderful childhood memories of Christmas morning. My parents never put the presents under the tree until after we’d gone to bed on Christmas Eve. They always closed the door to the living room, and wouldn’t let us in until they were ready. So we would peek through the keyhole. They always had the lights off, so the tree would be glowing in its own magic.
Pat’s family always opened presents on Christmas Eve, which made no sense to me. Maybe with five boys, they just didn’t want to deal with a sleepless night. When Pat and I got together, it was quite the debate – have Christmas on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day? We tried compromises – we alternated from year to year (which I hated), did half the presents on Christmas Eve and the other half on Christmas Day (better). But once Kelsea came along, I convinced him that we had to have Christmas on Christmas Day – otherwise, the whole Santa thing wouldn’t work. So, it’s been Christmas morning for years, with one present on Christmas Eve.
Well, I don’t live there anymore, but Kelsea still does, and she still celebrates Christmas on Christmas morning. I’ll go over to Pat’s house mid-morning tomorrow, along with my nieces, and spend some time there. Kelsea will come to my house in the afternoon, and we’ll have our Christmas on Christmas night. It all works out okay.
But this Christmas Eve, I’ll be on my own. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve debated going to a Christmas Eve service at some church. I’m not religious, but I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas Eve services. However, I’m used to going to Duke Chapel for my service, and there’s not a church in Boulder that can hold a candle to that cathedral. It just won’t be the same going to some modern, dry-walled structure. So I may just hang out and wrap presents so that they can be unwrapped tomorrow. I’ll bake a ham. And I’ll be just fine.
To all my friends in the blogosphere, I wish you a happy, peaceful, joyful Christmas.
And here’s a gift for a dear friend:
Santa lives at the Mall now.
He’s surrounded by a tunnel of greenery and roped off from the press of children, who must form a single-file line to the big guy. Parents aren’t allowed to take pictures of their children in Santa’s lap. The only permissible pictures cost some ridiculous amount and are taken by a teenager clad in an elf costume.
The Santa at Flatirons Mall isn’t bad this year. He’s no Edmund Gwenn, but he’ll do. (For those of you who don’t know Edmund Gwenn, he’s the iconic actor who portrayed Santa in the 1949 classic “Miracle on 34th Street.)
I’ve seen some horrendous parodies of Santa, courtesy of the Internet, and some total Santa creepers, which could truly influence susceptible children:
How times have changed.
When I was a child, way back in the days of yore, there were two places in town that had Santa: Northgate Mall, which was within walking distance of my house,
and Belk’s Department Store, which was a bus ride downtown.
As I consider it, I think these two shopping powerhouses were in cahoots with each other, because each had a Santa AND a Mrs. Claus. This was very clever, because back in the 1960’s, we were more clever than children these days. And if we saw Santa at one place, we knew that he couldn’t be at the other place – hence, the ploy of Mrs. Claus. And by the way, Mrs. Claus DID NOT LOOK LIKE THIS:
She looked like this:
They’d trade off. Mrs. Claus would say “Oh, Santa’s gone off to tend the reindeers,” and we’d buy into it. It wasn’t the same, sitting on Mrs. Claus’ lap – I recall usually seeing her at Belk’s. But I actually felt like I was kind of covering my bases by talking to both of them. Mrs. Claus would be more likely to understand things from that “just us girls” perspective, and she could share that with Santa, in case he didn’t understand me.
I seem to recall that E-Bro did not like going to see Santa AT ALL.
The Santa at Northgate was in a little shack on the sidewalk.
It was all lit up outside and dark red inside, and Santa’s throne was against the back wall of the shack. So it was a little scary going inside.
But I think E-Bro at one point resisted going in most forcefully, and I remember standing there watching his unseemly display (I couldn’t have been more than 3) with exceptional disdain. And even though I was scared to death too, mostly because my big brother was, I boldly strode inside with my head held high and I sat on that lap and I told that man what he was going to bring me for Christmas – or else! I gave him my well-thought out list. And my knees were shaking when I left.
The last time I sat on Santa’s lap was about 15 years ago, after a particularly festive girl’s Christmas lunch. And it was still weird – OK, maybe it was weirder because I was in my 30’s. But Santa didn’t seem to mind a bit. Which made it even weirder.
Anyway, no more Santa for me. But hey, I still have the spirit – and the hat.
Today’s guest poet – my favorite, Pablo Neruda.
I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair
Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because –
because – I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.
Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.
Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,
because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily all over the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?
I’m having a pretty blue day, but in the spirit of trying to be positive, here are today’s gratitudes:
the sepia color of the moonlight last night when I got up at 1:45 (having missed the total eclipse); my little Christmas bonus from my part-time employer; submitting my resume for a job (even if I don’t hear anything, it’s a step in some direction); my Mother’s fake-fur blanket that I rescued from my ex’s house and am now cuddled up with; my dermatologist, who is just fantastic and makes me feel so cared for (even if she did take off two moles for biopsies); my boss’ 18-month old granddaughter, who took an instant liking to me and climbed in my lap and gave me books to read to her – it was awesome snuggling and chatting with a little one.
Baby steps, I guess. Today it was baby steps backwards though.