Monday, January 12, 2009

I drove from Alabama to New York

In a little white pick up truck, and it was fun! I had forgotten how much I enjoy driving. Honestly, the time sort of flew by--until I reached the George Washington Bridge on the second day. It was snowing, and I don't really know my way around these parts. So. That was an adventure.

But I made it back. And have spent most of today alternating episodes of "The Wire" with episodes of cleaning.

I've got two things for you:
1) Thoughts on our Small, Symbolic Universe -- It is the New Year. Last year was the Year of the Rat (and oh how ratty were some of the things that occurred!!!) This is going to be the Year of the Ox. The thing to keep in mind here, people, is that these yearly descriptions are all about attitude. Interestingly enough, 2007 was Year of the Pig--which coincides with the end of the financial bubbles--and leads right into the panic some might feel in Rat years. The Year of the Ox is all about fortitude--so the East is not telling us that things are going to get all better, all sudden-like. But there is some hope. And we can see that in the upcoming festivities planned for our delicious President-Elect.

2) Thoughts on the Holiday -- My favorite Christmas song has always been "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." My reasons, however, for loving that song have changed. When I was younger, I liked the song because I liked the sincerity and bravado. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Neil Diamond, with those throaty, careworn voices, bravely putting forth a good front for the lost and the lonely. But I didn't get it. I romanticized the sorrow in those words, and I imagined that the singers were only in a rough spot. For me, that song was all about a moment--a quick thought, a short memory, a brief reference--and then Hooray! Look at all the shiny presents and the twinkly lights!

Now, I still love to hear Frankie murmuring "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". But nowadays my love is tempered by a more solid grasp of that song's soul. It is not a temporary moment of sad; it lingers. It is an adjusting song, an acknowledgment of the ephemeral, and a paean to the very thing that such ephemerality makes possible: Joy. Holidays are all about the Wabi Sabi, baby. And, I think, for that reason, it's a damn good thing they only come around every once in a while.

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