As the morning sky grows pink and pale cerulean, rose red at the line of horizon, I can see from my window the snow from three days ago. It has melted a bit. It has been trampled on. It is pocked with footprints. Temps will climb to 50 today. This evening it will be gone. Most of it.
But not on my deck. The packed-hard ice and snow will stay with me all week, I suspect. The deck faces north and in the winter gets no sun. The snow piled up to four and a half inches at one point, and then it snowed all night after I measured. Winter is harsh.
It makes me think of warm days and sitting outside. Eight months out of the year, I can enjoy my deck. I often take work or writing out there. I eat three meals a day out there. I sit and think and watch birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. I look over my yard and try to figure out something else to plant or how many more stones I can add or what specialty item I can build. Last year it was a fairy garden. What will it be this year?
It will be something. I am filled with a desire to get out there and do something. Anything. Dig, plant, create. I love growth.
This is true on a personal level, too. If there is not an attitude of constant assessment and awareness and attempts to grow, to reach higher, to be more, then what is there?
In everyone’s heart and soul, there is always something to chisel out, to mold, to make better. If I am a living part of the vine, my leaves will be coming again in season, and I will bear fruit. Until then, I will bear.
To the Year that just eased out:
2015—You sneaked in, first with a colonoscopy I’d put off, then
Ice and snow—seven days trapped inside my house, all meetings and events canceled, then
Cleveland—lifetime home and lunch with the girls of my high school class…old friends!
You sent art crawls, festivals, authors circles, writing groups, workshops, opportunities to speak and share my book, and . . .
Cracker Barrel, Chop House, Merridees, Amerigos, Circa, Homestead with old and new friends, and then, whew . . .
The Rolling Stones,
A drive down the Natchez Trace, the grandchildren, a trip to Asheville, dinner at the Grove Park Inn, then
Chaeli. You took her away from me.
Big Magic, Liz Gilbert, with Ann Padgett.
Then Heidi Deering. You gave her to me.
It’s a Wonderful Life, Studio Tenn at The Factory.
Writing opportunity—essay turned in to editor, to be published in an anthology of 22 women writers next year.
The ring and the engagement, Corey and Leah.
2015—You took harshly and you gave sweetly. You made me cry, and you gave me squeals of joy.
My dear friend Chance Chambers says it best:
“2015—you burned in the best and worst ways,
raised and silenced voices with equal voracity,
gifted me beautiful friends and intoxicating opportunity . . . ”
Welcome, now, 2016—you clean slate, tabula rasa, you second chance, you great big gift of freshness!
May we all keep up the journey, walk across the upcoming 366 stepping stones, one foot forward at a time, head high, eyes on the sky, eyes on the Light. We’re all in this. Pushing forward. Stumbling. Falling. Skipping and skating smoothly. Let’s do this. Let’s make it a good one.
Peace. Joy. Love. To all!
“Incoming.” I sat on the couch cradling my thirteen-week-old puppy.
BOOM, crackle, fizzle.
Neil and I were going out to New Year’s Eve dinner in Brentwood, and I’d be leaving puppy Heidi for a while.
I had just taken her out to potty, when I heard a thunk, and a mortar went off, spearing high into the sky over Wades Grove, with beautiful colors sparkling and cascading down, all accompanied by a boom loud enough to rock the earth I stood on.
Too big for a neighborhood, I thought. Houses too close to each other for this.
The puppy writhed and wiggled and screamed. I put her down, and she ran to a corner between the fireplace and back wall and tried to burrow herself into the ground.
“She was digging a foxhole,” Neil said. He’s a Vietnam veteran who spent a lot of time in foxholes yelling, “Incoming!” I edited his book last summer about the war and remembered some of the lines:
“Then I heard the whump. Then another and another. Mortars firing. Incoming. Be on our heads in seconds. I yelled . . . ‘Incoming! Getcher ass in the hole!’ Others in my platoon were now yelling . . . A mortar round exploded behind me . . . More mortar rounds exploding, more whumps of incoming. Big explosions . . . Tracer bullets spearing red lines through the blackness both directions from M16s and AK-47s. Flashes of explosions.”
It was like we were at war in Wades Grove.
The puppy refused to go outside the rest of the evening. I tried to take her a few times, and when I neared the back door, she screamed and writhed in my arms. She kept looking up at the ceiling, like something was going to fall and harm her. Neil, a teddy bear of an old veteran, watched and understood how she felt. We were both saddened because a tiny, happy, well-adjusted puppy will carry some PTSD with her for hopefully not too long.
I’ve heard others talk about how their dogs were deathly afraid of fireworks, but I’ve never seen anything like what I experienced the last day of 2015. My previous cocker spaniel was sixteen and deaf for three years, so she slept right through every fiery-celebrated holiday.
Fireworks are legal in my town. It doesn’t matter that some of the houses in neighborhoods are ten or fifteen feet apart. Your neighbor is allowed to shoot mortars and rockets that land in your yard or on your roof. Some of the warnings on those rockets even talk about re-ignition.
I love fireworks. I go to planned celebrations, and I’m there on the sidelines if and when neighbors are shooting off fireworks safely. But I’ve been a little nervous since in my previous neighborhood, where fireworks were not legal, several years ago someone a distance away shot off a big, fat rocket that stuck five inches deep in my front yard only five feet away from my porch and roof. I tried to pull the stick up and could not. “I’m calling the police,” I told my husband. “If this had landed a few feet shorter, we’d have the hose out trying to extinguish a fire right now, and we’d have roof damage that somebody would have to pay for. This is too much.” He agreed, and he never agreed to anything that was over the top. The policeman struggled a bit to pull the rocket stick up, then drove in the direction of the shooters. Not sure who they were or if he ever found them.
This morning, I found a Fire Dragon 8-oz. rocket in my driveway. Nobody on my street was shooting fireworks. It came from afar.
No wonder my puppy was afraid. It was in her yard! On her property!
There are some fireworks appropriate for neighborhoods and some that are not. The problem is that sometimes people don’t know the difference. Laws happen because people aren’t smart enough to determine which is which or responsible enough to make good decisions.
And they put their neighbors at risk.
I wonder who is going to clean all this up and return the sidewalk to normal.
I hope one day soon our mayor and aldermen will get up with the times. It’s no longer the day of firecrackers and those little fizzly, sprinkly sticks of fire sparks. It’s war, with mortars and rockets and big stuff.
I’m for pretty, but I’m also for safety.