dispatch from 02139 (in which the calendar page flips anew, and we all stare at the great white slate…)
another friday, another kitchen table. this one back in the land of cobblestone sidewalks and echoes of history. ones that pre-date the great chicago fire.
i awoke — late — to my definition of a heaven-plucked day: the sky is gauzy gray, as if soot-soaked cotton balls are plugging holes between the clouds. the little apartment is bathed in quiet. everyone’s gone away. just me and the tip-tap-tap of keyboard. a lulling sort of sound, and one that today is lulling me.
by accident of birth, i came onto the planet on the third day of a new year, and so all my life — and especially of late — i dwell in my own personal calendar of time delay. my january second comes on the fourth. today’s the day i call the Big After, when no one i love is trying to make a fuss, when i don’t hold my breath all day, hoping to extract the essence of a divinely choreographed day of grace. when i awake to laundry loads, and empty cupboard shelves. when to-do’s threaten to gallop cross my chest, pummel me in dust.
but the beauty of this time delay, this stalled beginning, is that i’ve extra hours to contemplate the fresh start. to consider hard and deep just how i might aim to live this year.
i am never short on aims. (from this point on, thanks to our flaky, flimsy internet connection, an hour of writing went down the tube….and in my mad-scrambled brain, i can barely cobble the words back together again. why does that happen when you actually felt sated by the words that had first fallen on the page? and why can’t you pluck those words back from the ether that has zapped them away? from here on in, a feeble attempt at re-cobbling. given the subject at hand, i ought to consider this a fresh start but, egad, that isn’t working….)
i am fueled by aims — a walking, talking i’ll-do-better machine.
and on this gray morning, this morning laced in shadow, my humble vows begin with these: to not dwell so often in clipped-time staccato, weekday after weekday, as i try to foist my little fellow from bed sheet to school bus, with mandatory pit stop at the breakfast trough. to not so often feel quite so shy, especially in a crowd, when all i really want to do is pull one great soul off to a corner for a heartfelt and satisfying tete-a-tete. to not whittle away so many hours, breath held hard and lost in worry that, at any given moment, geez, the plane could go down, the car might slide into a ditch, and the ones i love won’t shuffle back.
deep in the truth of all of us lies the rough draft that demands edit after edit.
and so we are blessed, those of us who keep time (and last i checked, that was most of us), who trace the day, the week, the year in spiral.
it is, at heart, a geometry of promise, hope and, most of all, ascension. it offers us the chance, over and over, to come back to that sacred moment when we stand at the crest of the hill, cast arms wide, salute the heavens, shake off dirt and dust, re-map our route, and see if this time round we might inch higher toward the summit.
i don’t know a world religion that doesn’t devote a chapter, at least, to absolution, cleansing, rinsing. it is as if we are hard-wired for holy resurrection. to rise from our brokenness. to seek forgiveness for our sins and shortcomings. to come back to the fresh start, the blank slate, to try and try again. to believe in the almighty “take two.”
and so it is this morning that i come on bended knee. i stand here praying, hoping, promising that my next go-around on this old globe might be one that draws me closer to the unfettered essence i was meant to be. the one not weighted down with doubt and double-guessing. the one that drinks in all the holy waters all around me.
it is, i hope and pray and believe, by little and by little — by little dose of courage, by little kindness, by little gentleness — that we inhale the promise: to shake off our wobbles, stand tall, and launch the climb again.
at the start of this new year, it’s what i whisper. and what sets me on my way….
how do you practice the art of starting fresh?
dear chair people, i lost an entire post here, hit publish, and POOF!, the whole thing vanished, and i don’t know where it’s gone. photo up above is from my not-so-secret garden back in 60091, where the snows fell thick and soft last week, and out my kitchen window, i beheld the wonder of the freshest start.