As the end of the year counted down I was in a strange head space. Anxiously optimistic, I guess is the best way to describe it. As is the way of nature, the winter months are both a wonderful time of celebration and mourning. It is a time of refreshing energy and drugging solemness. We celebrate a renewed closeness in our relationships and mourn the passing of times gone by. It is a time of beginnings and endings. Life and death.
When the winter solstice is upon us the earth is cold and barren, it has truly settled into a deep slumber, its fruitful trees, fields and rivers resting, recuperating from the long year. Winter, December rather is the REM stage of of sleep for the world...at least here in Texas, that is how I imagine it. Its the time when the earth dreams of all that it was and all that it could be.
Life, for me, follows that same cycle. December for me IS WINTER and winter is "into the gloaming". That mystical, wondrous space of neither life nor death. Beginning nor end. Just a glorious, fantastic, exciting, scary time of simply existing. I am all at once depressed and excited. Happy, yet forlorn. Hopeful, resentful, peaceful, nervous, resigned and determined.
I've spent the month reflecting on not just my recent year, but the years long escaped. Some memories are so clear the brilliance of them steals my breath and pierces my heart and others have me squinting into the banked flames of the fire place, struggling in my mere thirty two years to recall specific names, dates, actions. I long for childhood, no not exactly the same childhood nor a better childhood, but those exciting and fresh, untainted by reality fantasies of the childhood of my memories. The parts that were happy and light. I wish to go back there and see, smell, feel old familiar faces. And I yearn for the future, no not exactly the future that is mine but the future of my childhood imaginings. The flying cars and fantastic colors. Loved ones that in reality can't be there, children that are miniature replicas of me and He but in varying skin tones befitting a world that is free of those pesky ISMs.
In January I am always in a place were the sadness of winter has begun to fade. I've girded myself with the comforts of family and friends, food, wine...food...did I mention food and wine and great company. And while I long and yearn I've come through the gloaming. I am more alive, than dead. Not that I was ever dead. Maybe I should say I am more awake. The dream like state is fading and I am ready to add more memories and adventures. By now I am nearing one full month of being thirty two years old and my determination to be even better at thirty two than I was at thirty one is riding high. I don't make new years resolutions because in my mind that's just a challenge to see how quickly I can break it. But still I am resolved. Things un accomplished, will be refocused on. Goals will be re-prioritized, relationships pruned, trimmed and sheered until my life as closely resembles that garden of paradise I dreamt of in child hood as humanly possible.
I still have my anniversary to celebrate mid month so the Tree stays up... a little wilted but just as glorious as when we drug it in and wrangled it into its place of honor. Each branch holds the lingering scent of the hidden cinnamon pine cones and dips under the weight of the ribbons, bows and ornaments heaped upon it. Memories, lingering, but ready to be packed away. And deep on a secret bough, nestled close to the trunk is a tiny slip of paper that I hid on Christmas morning. The prayer a familiar one....1 Samuel 1:11
11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
My prayer only varies slightly.. I care not for son or daughter but a child. And this year the prayer is actually more praise because in the wee hours of Christmas morning our wish seemed to have been granted.
Our joy was tentative though. We've lived this scenario many times innumerable. So we've been a little slower in jumping into grand plans and adventures in this time of sleepy regeneration. In this cold desolate time of winter. As each day ticked by I spoke softly to friends here or there. Answering questions about my obvious absence, trying to carry on with cautious but ever building joy. Even when things began to indicate that this time too would not yet be our time: my faith was not shattered...it wavered, I can't lie, but despite my best efforts a grin stretched from ear to ear each passing day and I began to day dream of all things tiny and too cute for words.
I used to say I didn't know what was worse in the process, but I've decided that for me it lies in these times. In the slow decline, when you fear breathing least it jostle something loose.
NOW I know you're sitting there going "Dammit Drea you said positive, and this is positively morbid! WTF how did we get here?"
Ah, dear reader, I did say positive, I didn't promise you light and airy... light and airy is what you get on my facebook page. But bare with me friends...this does end ... and I am fairly certain that it ends positively hopeful and thus I shall have kept my promise.
How can that be, you might wonder. Well, because as I said before, winter isn't just a time of death. It is a time of renewal. Regeneration. Mystery. Magic. The Gloaming. It is a time where one is challenged to reinvent themselves to survive. To restore their faith and resume their direction or redirection. So tonight as I stood in the halo of the porch light, watching the biggest, fattest freshest snowflakes fall from the sky I cried.
I've mourned all that I can for now. I've wailed for this life that was not yet meant to be, the direction that is now redirected from its sudden redirection. I cried because in that moment the sky was an ugly, dingy, dirty thing and winter was dark and horrific and cold and unkind.
I shrugged into his comforting embrace and wept. And then wept harder for the sting of his hot tears on my neck, before I let him bundle me indoors, back to the sofa and its comforting cocoon of blankets, pillows and two sad eyed puppy dogs. I cried as I snuggled into their warmth and felt them nuzzle close to my stomach...each letting out a confused whine before creeping, and gently wiggling their way onto and next to me and He, as if to complete our circle of comfort and sadness And I soaked up all the love and energy surrounding me. Soaked it up and basked in it.
And then I looked out at the heather and charcoal grey sky. Streaked with the ghostly plumbs of smoke from my neighbors chimneys and the purpley pink snow clouds drifting slowly by. I watched the snowflakes dance delicately to earth. And I thought...but I love winter. I love the crisp cold air that chills me. I love the ritual of lazy days in front of the fire place. I love the extra chocolaty hot chocolate with marshmallows . I love catching snowflakes on my tongue. I love the cleansing of a harsh freeze. How it kills of all the germs and demons from the past year and then melts into crystal clear water that brings abundant green life. I am invigorated by the winter. Its sting reminds me that I am yet alive. If I weren't I wouldn't feel it. And by being alive I still have a chance...for anything. For everything. Possibilities abound.
And there is your positive. Well at least there is my positive. In all death there is life. From the moment that one over achieving lil' sperm wins the triathlon/ pie eating contest, we begin to not only live, but to rush head long into death. But death isn't the end. It is the fertilization of new beginnings. There is some truth to that saying "pushing up daisies".
I am no way over it. Please, don't mistake my rambling to be some great new "I've healed myself" new age mumbo jumbo. And I wouldn't exactly say I am at peace with it. But I know I'll get there. Along the way I'll probably backslide, back-flip about face, trip and fall down. I'll probably wallow in it for a while. Skip the shower, take too many showers, fall asleep and nearly drown in a bubble bath...intentionally almost drown trying to hold my breath under the water in the bubble bath ( don't act like I am the only one who has ever done that, man you want to fill a live, fuck up and snort some mister bubble water in your nose and then come up gasping for air...that shit burns).
I'm just saying for right now, at 3:48 in the morning...as I reflect on all the emails and text messages I've received not only in the last few hours, but over the last few years of this journey...I am ok. And judging by the sounds of the snores...the boys are ok.
He held me close and rocked me before kissing me on the head and going to bed. And He said, "you know we are going to get through this. Write about it, say whatever you need to say and then when you're ready we'll start again." And I can smile looking out at the snow thats already melting away. The scent of His cologne is lingering on my shirt and I'm hungry and I have to pee and I've sat on my foot for too long as I been lost in my rambling here. I'm going to get through this. We're going to get through this. 2013 is going to be an amazing year. And its all because of the snowfall in West Texas.