I feel a little cliche…thinking about the passing of the year. And yet, it’s not just a year. It’s a decade….at what still feels like the onset of an era and a century.
This year has been beautiful and exhausting and chaotic and tumultuous and enthralling. I’m sitting in my earthen brown living room, a warm blue blanket wrapped over my knees. The century old hardwood floor that occasionally splinters and chips does not hold out the cold, but Leia has curled up against me to add to my warmth.
I love my house, my home, that I bought seven months ago and fully moved into six months ago. I do not miss my first house that finally sold four months ago. No, I do not miss the suburbial sprawl that continues to unleash itself and upend the woodlands that used to surround my humble neighborhood. But I miss the normalcy that existed in my old house, a normalcy that is forever extinct.
My son moved out, as he needed to, so that he could go to college. He is a theater major, and even though his university is only an hour away, his rehearsal schedule keeps him out well past midnight. He has no need to drive along back country roads when the deer have no fear of the road and no respect of any boundaries. My so will never move into this house on a permanent basis, not if he is truly going to be able to pursue an acting career. And I respect this. But there is a hollowness created by his elongated absences. When he comes home, we spend long hours talking. Not just chatting, but heartfelt conversations in which we analyze our lives and the choices we make. We talk about his future. We discuss literature and art and theater. In so many ways, our board has shifted and we are equals, which I love. He will always be my son. But now he is becoming my friend. And this could really only happen with his moving out.
My daughter continues to amaze me with her resilience and strength and determination. Yesterday, she passed her learner’s permit test and has already started driving with my husband. The move pained her. She had never moved before, and in the space of six weeks, her world flipped and spiraled and she fell into this nebula in which she had no real foothold in either her old home and the new house. And yet, she pushed forward, with no brittle words or bitter animosity. She painted and worked and cleaned and did anything and everything my husband and I asked with no harsh words or guilt. And now, she succeeds in her new school, earning great grades and the respect of her teachers.
I look back over this year and feel the weight of the days of query letters and rejections and the puzzling of why I wasn’t good enough. I look back over this year and feel the surge of an acceptance for my short story and feel that tantalizing reminder that this is just the beginning. That maybe someone else will find my writing good enough and will give me another chance. That maybe I can have a small future in the writing world.
I am still shackled by my fears and my anxieties and my insecurities. And yet, I am also finding myself breaking the fetters so that I can take the steps forwards and sideways that will enable me to travel. I am two years from turning fifty, and I am making plans for my birthday. I will go overseas and back to the little English town where I was born. I haven’t been there since I was seven….I know that it is time for me to go back and see where I had my beginning.
In the last ten years, I have risen and fallen. I have hiked a hundred miles on two sprained ankles. I wrote a book and rewrote it and rewrote it and rewrote it again and again and again. And then I wrote another book.
And I’m working on another…two or three.
I see the hourglass turning. Another year is dawning and I can feel the horizon dipping down to scoop me up and lever me forward. I yearn for the adventures of life, to see my books in print, to see my children succeed.
I yearn for the strings dangling in front of me, for the songs I try to sing in my cavernous house. I yearn for the quiet of the mountains and the rush of the wind through the pine trees.
I yearn for this next year and pray for many blessings on all.
Now, where’s my newest hiking map? There’s trails out there I need to find….