The new year is coming in. I am not as welcoming as I had hoped. I find myself still thinking too much about the old one. I hear the wind coming through the chimney down into the fireplace and rattling around like a reminder of things left unsettled. I stopped awhile, stopped painting and stopped putting away the old year to put cabbage and black eyed peas on the stove and some fresh lemon in the iced tea I made earlier. I listened longer to the wind stirring around and causing some sort of melancholia to settle in on the crisp new year. I can’t identify it and I certainly don’t like it, so I am writing hoping to find it here in these words to dispel it.
I think it comes from the sudden switch – the anticipation of the holiday and then newspapers and TVs overflowing with white sales and weight loss and Valentines on greedy store shelves. Where is Christmas? By now, I have gotten so weary of this media directed world we have created – I so long for creative thoughts and originality and time to be a bit more still – time to absorb instead of rushing on to the next “thing”. I think how big the world once was and how we had space to become who we were.
Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s what lingering and bothering me – the herding of society? Oh my, that is way too harsh of a thought or comment, way too disagreeable of an assumption.
I am heading outside. I will bundle up and walk through the drenched field and come back with good thoughts, for I know I will see a cardinal and I will hear my two goats in the woods, eating grass and paying no mind to this hype that hangs around me. I will make a mental note to get bird seed and plant a camellia and another citrus tree before spring, pick a few oranges, wait for the new moon tonight and think about those pure moments within the holiday that connected me to my family and when I do these things, I will be happy.
Ok, I’m going with, I’m posting the syrupy mawkish mess of diction that describes how I feel right now and judging from some of the FB entries, I am not alone, some of you guys are feeling “it” too. I guess it’s part of the “seasoning” package. “It” all started yesterday morning; these surprise feelings that come with being human. I walked into the living room, the front room, the room where Christmas morning happens and “it” was over. It was already gone except for a few boxes to recycle and some red ribbon I wanted to keep. The people were gone; people that came from faraway places and places nearby, the Christmas lights on my dried out tree were even over, a fuse blew. The day went on and the evening came and I found myself in my studio painting and listening to Classic Country on the Dawg (just like I do every Saturday night) and the Highwaymen came on, Willie started singing and I suddenly realized my four sons are gone too. I know that sounds really silly because they left a long time ago but it was one of those moments where something that seems very obvious isn’t really and all of a sudden it registers.It re-registers with the heart, this thing that the mind has known for a while, now the heart knows and it doesn’t have the linear reasonable thoughts of the mind. It doesn’t care that that’s how life progresses and all things are as they should be – scheduled and precise, no the heart doesn’t think those things, it just feels those little bits of sadness when a mom realizes her children are all gone, even though they physically left a long time ago.
|sweetheart rose from my mother
| These feelings transcend time; they just show up in seemingly random spots triggered by something – a fragrance, a picture, a conversation, or a Willie Nelson song. Then the heart takes a tumble and there you are in this sentimental mush missing someone. I think it’s necessary though, this random passage through mush,because I want to remember all of the people in my life past and present and this time of year is a hotspot. My mother died on August 20, 1997 – right before the holiday madness. I thought I would not be able to get through Halloween- that’s where my kids trick or treated and she dressed like a witch and how could we have Thanksgiving, she prepared the tom turkey and we sat in her dining room as a family and forget about Christmas Eve, going to her house each night before Christmas was the tradition. Obviously, I did get through those times; we pulled together as a family and it was okay. Whew! Well, at about 11:00 New Year’s day 1998, I was walking to the wood pile in my yard and it hit me – this sentimental feeling that is hitting me now. There was no warning, no real cause, just a flood of emotion hit and it was all about her – it was all about beginning the first year of my life, 1998, without my mother in it. It brought on a stream of tears and a consequent river of memories, all tied to her. I spent most of the day there in that soppy place but after it was over, I felt much better. These bouts of extreme sentiment are here for a grand purpose – they cause you to reflect and remember and that is how we keep people with us – through reflection and memory.I call it a spiritual visit.
I suppose nature knows how to bring on these bouts of emotion when they are needed. We are too busy, it seems, to go there on our own. So, we run into situations that force us to get knee deep in sentiment and when we do, I think we need to just go with it and be there for a while. Anyway, just posting this because I can guess that everyone reading this has a sort of void in their hearts on this cusp of the New Year,we all miss someone, I get that from reading your posts on FB. Isn’t it beautiful to remember though and if it means stopping a bit and crying or calling someone and telling or sitting here writing, it is what we should do. It’s how we keep people in our hearts when they can’t be here physically. Or, like our children, when they have gone into their own lives, as they should, and things are not as they were, it helps to remember those times that were their childhoods and admit that this passage is both joyous and disheartening for parents. We easily celebrate the joy but the counter emotion of soppiness should be addressed also, for it is just as real.
Writing this has helped me through this sentimental journey and I feel much better as I type out these last words. I hope to begin 2013 with a stronger take on how happy I am for my four sons, how happy I am that they are having their own lives. I know, like you know, I will always miss some of those moments when life was different. I will go with these seemingly random bouts of emotions that old songs and New Year’s Eve can cause and then I will go on into the “here and now” remembering that today will one day be yesterday.
|there are so many memories to find inside of a fireplace…
“We drank a toast to innocence we drank a toast to time
We’re living in our eloquence, another old lang syne”
The second day of the year is already here – life doesn’t wait for us does it? I have so much whirling around in my mind right now – no resolutions just sketches of footpaths and affirmations of where I am and what I am doing. There’s something about the fresh scrubbed beginning of the new year that rejuvenates us – I can take it a step further and celebrate each new day and I hope to this year. I have just recently written an “artist bio” for a show I have been asked to be in (yay!!) and it was a great exercise for me – it made me sort through some things and in the end, it made me feel good about my art. I suppose there is some merit to writing things down – it becomes a visual of your fabric and it helps to “see” who you are. I also found an old journal from college last night – it “randomly” fell to the floor in my little office while I was gathering tax stuff. I shared some of it with my twins – it was fun and connecting – their mom at their age. I read two entries about two of the paintings hanging on my wall – telling me when they were completed and how I felt about them – so wonderful to recapture. Ahhh, the written word – where will it be, is it a thing of the past? Anyway, enough about nothing, I need to get busy and capture this moment before it ends up in a journal.
Sept. 26, 1974…”I finished the painting of the two Malboro men for my dad today…”