Early Sunday morning, the second snow storm of the year, the house warm and toasty, stocked with food, good coffee, even some hot chocolate and jazz artist Charles Lloyd playing a piece called “Song for Her,” a piece so eloquent and pure it stills my fingers at times as my eyes wet up at the beauty of the notes that seem to drift into the air, tiny jewels all.
It has been an amazing year, filled with joys and struggles, beginnings and endings, losses and gains, moments of exhilarating joy and some of heartbreak. In many ways it has been a year like any year. As life is all things and comes to us on its own terms, it is your relationship with those terms that makes the difference. I was in an emergency room this year and learned my health was so precarious I was in danger of dropping dead from a stroke or heart attack at any second. After receiving a few units of blood I gave a speech the next day and went come to contemplate the fragility of things, not to mention my foolishness at not taking better care of myself. I am better, by the way.
I saw two Springsteen concerts this year and will be going to two next July. I am writing more than ever before. I have made a wonderful new friend in Brampton, Ontario. Recently I was talking to a close friend about how I know I am supposed to be finishing my memoir but I am having so much fun writing a novel called “Twigs” I don’t want to let up. He said, “Write whatever the hell you want.”
I thought, “Uh, okay.” It’s amazing how someone else can say something so clearly and you find yourself shaking your head wondering how the hell you missed it in the first place.
People have entered and left my life. My daughter struggles with the behaviors of addiction and she and my grandsons are out of reach.
As an alcoholic I cherish my sobriety. A woman I know has many years sober under her belt. I was talking with her recently about some of the year’s struggles and the early days of sobriety when I was in the “pink cloud” and all of life seemed wonderful. She smiled and said, “One time I was in the “pink cloud” and my sponsor said, “Not to worry, this too shall pass.” ”
We laughed. She is right. All I can do, or all any of us can do, is pray for those we love and care about and, as my best friend Michael says, “Keep the door open and food on the table.”
And so what about next year? What plans do I have? What do I hope for? I have plans for sure. I also know that the Robert Burns sentiment, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry rings true, yet it’s fun to make plans and set some goals. But it is wise to be careful and not get so wedded to them that if they change, or go awry, as they are want to do, you don’t spin yourself into a tizzy.
Next year is a special year for me. On October 2 I will turn 55, the same age my father was when he died. There is something about this that moves something deep inside me that I can’t put into words.
So here’s a dose of my plans. I will finally read my father’s copy of “the lives and times of archy and mehitabel” by Don Marquis. I plan on completing the three books I am writing. I will spend a few days in a cabin in New Jersey’s Stokes Forest, where my father went when he was a boy and where he took me when I was a boy. And I might go on a cruise. Get a cabin with a balcony and watch the ocean and write and read.
I have other plans too, and while all plans are subject to change, it’s nice to have them. And I don’t mind the change.
Two things are for sure. My sobriety comes first – and I will keep the door open and food on the table.