Field Notes, vol 11
I intended to write this hours ago, watching the early morning sun from my window. And yet, despite going to bed a bit before midnight last night, I slept until past 4 pm today, and it’s the twilight that keeps me company now. My body, in the grips of a flare up and perhaps something more, needed the sleep, and I can’t begrudge it those lost hours. This is not how I meant to ring in the new year: my flare up started on New Year’s Day, and thus my usual cleaning and tidying rituals have had to wait. It’s too difficult holding my hands up above my head to dismantle a garland, and besides my balance isn’t terribly trustworthy right now. The little everyday dreams I’d meant to put into place by now have had to wait as well.
A few years ago, I would have been upset, felt betrayed by my body, restless in my inability to complete simple tasks. But now, I’ve been through the mourning, and am settled quite nicely in acceptance, even contentment. I’m growing up.
So even though this week has not gone as I expected, I will still write and share my thoughts on another new year, one full of promise. There a few points in a year’s cycle that seem to me to naturally encourage reflection, and this is one of them. What I share aren’t resolutions, in the go-getter goal setting sense, anyway. But it turns out resolution is a word with many meanings, including “the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts” and, musically speaking, “the progression of a dissonant tone or chord to a consonant tone or chord” and even a literary one: “the part of a literary work in which the complications of the plot are resolved or simplified.” I certainly break my life into separate parts to decide which areas need adjusting, and then put them back together again, hopefully in a more consonant way. And I have a sense of simplifying to a few overarching themes, for the year at least. So perhaps they are resolutions after all.
I’d like my life to have more:
- fresh air
- talking with family & friends, both online and off
- teaching Thistle tricks
- music (violin lessons will soon commence)
- knowledge of the natural world
and I’d like to have less:
- borrowing trouble.
My life is not typical, but like everyone else’s it has its benefits and downsides. Time is my primary gift, and I would like to value it a little more. I would also like 2014 to be a year of creating (as opposed to consuming): I have found that the more I create, the more satisfied I become, and the easier it is to place smaller, meaner thoughts in context. I do not think judging is always bad; my judgement is what has made me so committed to social justice. Yet negative thoughts can build into a cycle, and the best way I know to break that cycle is to remember that (almost) everyone is doing the best they can, according to what they feel is right.
One of my best friends recently wrote about choosing one word for the year, and I found myself enchanted with the idea. The obvious word would be create, and yet I shied away from it. My thesaurus search for synonyms proved fruitless too. Until I began to just reflect, and came up with making. I like that present progressive tense, without the overtones of the imperative, and creating might have done just as well. But making, with its Saxon roots, somehow seemed sturdier, humbler, and just right for me. In this upcoming year, I’ll be making all kinds of things, from the banal to the life changing, inviting metaphors of yarn and needles and knitting the slim strands into a sturdy, enveloping whole. There will be moments of struggle, I’m sure, dropped stitches that seem impossible to fix. At those moments, I hope I remember why I chose to begin anyway. At least I’ll be able to reread these thoughts.
It’s now pitch black outside my window, and I haven’t even gotten to bookish things. I’m a bit superstitious, and for my first read of the year, I decided to go with an author I knew I could depend on. I ended up choosing Ana Castillo’s Peel My Love Like an Onion, which was just a perfect novel for me, particularly now: full of love and humour and struggle and lots of reflections by an emotionally strong but physically disabled woman. I adored every moment of it, and it definitely got the year off to a good start. I also ended up finishing an entire audiobook, Sally Gardener’s fairy story I, Coriander. It was a reread for me, and kept me good company as I lay in bed, playing with knitting and my Christmas gift yarn, deciding what kind of sweater it wished to be. Just last night, I finished my first nonfiction read of the year, although I’d begun it in the last days of 2013: How the Light Gets In by Pat Schneider. It’s an essay collection by a poet, now in her 70s, that I requested from the library after reading “The Patience of Ordinary Things,” a quietly beautiful poem of hers I encourage you to read as well. It was a graceful, if challenging book, to which Schneider brought a stunning degree of emotional honesty. I feel richer and wiser for having read it.
Now it’s certainly time for me to close this post. I wrote it as much for myself than anyone else, and yet as I begin my eighth year of blogging here, I suspect the blog is once again evolving. There will still be lots of bookishness, but the form of that bookishness might change a little. We shall see.