g a t h e r i n g s

The Stroke Of Midnight

Dear 2018,
We haven’t met yet. I want to tell you some things about myself and about what I understand thus far.

Every year, many of us prepare for you by celebrating the release of what has been. Some of us drink, or abandon ourselves in other ways; millions of people stand for hours in the cold to witness a large crystal ball “dropping” from a great height or watch as the sky fills with fireworks or kiss a loved one or stranger. Pots and pans might be banged or party horns blown, we make noise together, a lot of it. Now, I could look all this up to see the origins of our various celebrations, but I feel the pressure of getting close to midnight, the flip switch between me, as I am, and you, as you will be.

The image that comes to me is of my old dog — gone in 2017 — coming in from slogging through the mud on a hot day. Once inside, he would shake his whole crazy body, so the dirt and moisture flew around the room. Then he’d run into the kitchen and gulp down as much water as possible, slurping and sloppy and very happy. Soon after, he’d lay his body down to rest. Minutes or hours later, he’d jump up, ready to start out again. I feel a bit like that, shaking off what has been, ready to lay my tired body down for the night to rest. It has been an intense year personally, and, of course, beyond the walls of my small world.

Tonight, however, I will close my eyes gently and whisper gratitude … for the people I love and from whom I receive love … for those who are no longer here, my mother and father, my husband, and others.

I will lay my head down on my soft pillow and whisper gratitude … for the beauty of nature … for the wisdom of artists … for the passion of activists … for my great good fortune to have a home and food and meaningful work and time to write. Tonight I will look forward to tomorrow, to waking up to the light, whether bright or dull, however it comes.

Dear 2018, I do not know what you have in store for us. Still, I vow to arrive at your door with the one gift I know to be invaluable: gratitude for every breath I get to take, each and every sinewy inhale and exhale.