The landscape sleeps for now under a coverlet of white. In spring, sheets of pale green grass rippled under the wind's breath with the grace of silk fluttering in a storm. Summer brought a fullness and a bounty as the stalks of grass bent with the weight of their seeds. Now a spray of grass, a sere echo of itself, bows lower and lower against the unforgiving wind. Golden leaves as light as paper curl like ribbon and dance in the winter sunlight, pretty and macabre and evocative and nostalgic all at once. The dead leaves cast longer shadows on the snow, dancing a shivering, ephemeral duet. With a turn of the world, the shadows are overtaken by others. With a turn of the season, the leaves will finally fall entirely, broken and buried by ice and wind and snow. And as the world waits for the days to lengthen and warm, damp breezes to return, the grass beneath prepares to rise...and the dance of the seasons begins again.
I rang in the new year in subdued but comfortable style, with a fire dying in the grate, the aftertaste of a nice dinner and a delicious bottle of German wine, a good man snuggled next to me on the sofa...and a couple of ibuprofens to take the edge off a pulled muscle in my shoulder that had kicked up an hour before. Ouch! Nothing like a body gone haywire for no reason to remind you of the march of time!
Now, with a cat stretched across my legs as I type through the first evening of 2014, cutting off circulation to my feet yet purring nicely, I'd like to say "welcome" to the New Year before us. It feels great to be turning the page!
In my case, this is literal as well as figurative--there are a few changes ahead that I can foresee, as well as any number of those that will hit me broadside or from behind. This website is new, for one, in the vein of taking 'the author game" up a notch and starting to focus on writing fiction rather than the personal essays that got me started when I launched my "Running with Stilettos" blog a few years ago. NOT that I'm abandoning "Stilettos..." et al...by mid-year there ought to be a "Best Of..." collection of my favorite essays available on Amazon.
But there are also a couple of Young Adult novels that are works-in-progress at the moment, and a circus-themed series of children's books just behind them on the back burner. And who knows, if I can add a few more hours to the day, I may finally once again pick up the suspense novel I started a few years ago. Serial family emergencies had derailed my ability to keep a train of thought going for very long, but I'm an eternal optimist. I just need to teach the pets how to do housework...
Seriously, while I crave writing (and chocolate) like I need oxygen, I also have a very different "wish list" for the new year. And that is simply that this new trip around the sun brings us health, and luck, and resilience, and the warm feeling of our arms around the ones we love. Because without our connections to each other and to the natural world around us, we are truly adrift and lost at sea.