The interior of my home feels like it is covered in a light film of percussively distributed sputum. Is it phlegm-uary already? Most of our Christmas decorations are piled on the dining room table, save for the Christmas tree, left up at my daughter’s tearful insistence; amazingly, there has been no corresponding tearful insistence from my wife that I take it down, Because The Holidays Are Over.
But they are. A bored New Year’s Eve spent looking at a pneumatic Jenny McCarthy, she vociferously opposed to putting illness-preventing injections into children, yet with no compunction against injectng actual bacteria into her own head. Early to bed. A first in our married life: we didn’t make it to midnight, no fireworks save for the incredible expenditure of ordnance in forest, field, and cul-de-sac all around. The beach-head established by 1130 hours, the rest just to soften up the enemy til 0330 or so.
The New Year dawned, bright and clear and sunny and cold, and fresh from a good night’s rest, we took a walk around a small local lake. A place we’d never been. I wondered aloud, to a mildly interested audience of two, at the many Madrona trees that ringed the lake between path and shore. It’s unusual here–there are none at Beaver nor Pine Lakes, and none at my wetland margins. I don’t know about Lake Sammamish. Pacific Madrone is usually a coastal tree; finicky, hard to cultivate. Strange at this elevation, this lacunar setting.
A week in, and the New Year is no longer so new. It matches my desktop calendar at work: a coffee ring, notes, and already appointments and schedules I don’t want to keep. The visible echo of an unfortunate sneeze. This year, my calendar: already a little dog-eared, but still New. You’re supposed to make a Resolution, right? I’ve always hated that. You either start something or stop something: I’m going to exercise, I’m going to start huffing paint. This is the year I stop drowning cats. It’s no good. Once you start it, or stop it, there is a lot of year left. It’s unsustainable. Doesn’t work, can’t last. You realize in February: I hate the smell of paint.Years ago, I set a tone for the year, an idea. Something I could be, or live. One year, it was The Return to Barbarism. Another, I Don’t Give a Sh*T. 1997, the elegantly simple year of What? These were very fine years, wire to wire. I haven’t done that in a while. You work, you have a family. It’s difficult to be barbaric. I found, as 2012 waned, that things looked different to me, there were shifts in life’s fabric…or how I was looking at it. Or how I WANTED to look at it. Through December, I could feel it, like a low-frequency vibration or a scent so imperceptible it only stirs sense memory and not the nose. Something so simple, so perfect. Sunlight on morning dew. 2012 is over. 2013…The Year I Changed My Mind.