I've thought and thought how to start this post. As the first one of the year, it feels important, like an announcement of what's expected to come. The trouble is we're already five days in and last year keeps hanging on. We managed to get most of the Christmas decorations put away today. The calendar over the bar reads January. Both of us go back to work tomorrow. It's all happening. But I feel slightly reluctant, like there's closure needed somewhere in the last year. Maybe it's the changed or lost relationships still nagging at me. Or maybe it's that we spent three weeks celebrating Christmas and going on outings and traveling, and have only just started settling back at home, not long enough to breathe deeply and sigh before getting up the courage to face the next big thing. Or maybe it's the book I meant to finish or the poems I meant to start reading but never did. Maybe it's the strange weather, warm and rainy one day and cold and bright the next. It feels like the final lines of Stevenson's "Christmas at Sea":
She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.
And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.
Or maybe it's just January. January is always the hook pulling us into the next year whether we've finished with the last or not. I know there's not really such a thing as January, or maybe even time, but there is such a thing as movement, and that means there's such a thing as change, which now I think of it, might be my problem. The earth spins as it whirls around the sun, so seasons come and go. Rain falls, so rocks are worn away. My chest goes up and down so many times a minute, and with it my heart grows older than it should and too soon. I claim to love change, and I sort of do, but not when it means things are lost that I want to keep or that difficult things are here that weren't here before.
2014. What will you bring? Gain and loss. Good and bad. Another spin around the sun. I know that well enough. It's just I've always been the girl who dips slowly into the cold water, toes first, then knees, hips, hands, elbows, shoulders, shivering the whole way till I finally give in and dunk my head under and laugh at how silly I was at first. Then when the day is done, the sun setting, I want to stay put in what now feels like such a warm bath, all the while knowing night will come soon and the water will go cold and everyone will be gone.
There are beautiful things in the future. I know there are. Things I'll wonder how I lived without. And there are things I'm glad to leave behind, things it's time to leave behind.
Sigh. There it is. That sigh I needed. The sigh I always need.
Right then, Robin. Breathe. Face the year with courage. Just start with today if it's all you can do. Toes in first. Your friends are already there waiting. Wait and see, you'll be laughing at yourself soon.
Goodbye 2013. Goodbye.