My favorite tree. In my favorite hometown spot.
Five years ago, she was on fire. Orange as ever. I felt like I was on fire too. About to head off to Nepal, I was ready for what was next. That fall was spectacular.
This fall, she’s not so orange. No so well. Maybe she’s older, maybe she’s too tired to glow but don’t give up on her yet. Tree, I feel the same some days.
Let’s look closer though. She’s still got some orange fire in her leaves. She’s still in the game. So am I tree. So am I.
Time for a pep talk. I always have better years on the odd ones. Even if the events of the year are not great, they are always transformative? Glass half full? Seems people miss that the glass has something at all – water or wine, still something. So, my good people, going to try to make something of this new year. Here’s the best of the last one.
“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it. It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.”
– Ann Patchett
“I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this.”
Making memories, living life doesn’t mean I have stopped reflecting. It’s been an intense time of real adult style stuff. You can either go deep and connect through the story or you can instead share memories of happier times. This summer and fall I could do neither. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, something was just not right.
And then the show did drop. I’ll get there and share more or not. Life was upside down for a while but all seems slightly less so or maybe I am just better at it now.
Today we went Christmas tree shopping. The cub was not so thrilled. I remembered cutting a tree down is hard and it was slightly gloomy a day. Memories. In the end life in its imperfection makes better memories. It’s taken me almost half a lifetime to learn that. I always believed in the yin and yang of life, now I am just going focus on living it. Wish me luck.
A summer of summertime days and nights – in my magical purple valley. New England has summer down. Fairs, swimming holes, ice cream stands, farmers markets, outside stuff. I don’t travel much when it’s hot outside. I stay here with my people and family – we have drinks outside, we sit around fires, we catch some frogs (if you’re 7 we do that), we look for fireflies in the meadows in our electric green hills and we store up memories for when it’s cold and gray and dark. It’s been an amazing summer this year and when February comes around, I’ll make sure to hold these days in and warm up my heart.
Winter cannot give up her grip on these New England hills. I am not going to be one of those surprised people that it happened again, happens every year. In a few months, when the green busts out all over, it is more than worth it.
Nonetheless, sometimes I feel a bit battled by the weather, life, possible disappointments, work stress. Today’s lesson is don’t under estimate the worth of a random act of kindness.
Just as I was preparing to wallow a bit in my pre-spring blues, the mail came. Random envelope with the driver’s license I wasn’t even missing yet inside it. With a note “I think you might want this back”. Thanks universe, you got this round.
I was rushing to work that horrible day, September 11, 2001, trapped in the normal Boston traffic listening to NPR. I knew I was late because it switched over to the BBC broadcast at nine am. I heard the news of the first tower falling in an English accent. It took me a moment to realize this wasn’t happening in a far away land but here in the USA, blocks from where my sister worked, in a city filled with my people, my buildings and streets I knew well. Not to mention, working for a tour operator, airplane travel was my day job.
And so began the first endless day. That would be followed by weeks of the same.
People know where they were when JFK was shot. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain’s death was announced, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and then the planes hit those towers. The historical moments that transform generations, that rewrite history.
This morning it started out windy and raining, so unlike that morning fifteen years ago. That day dawned as one of the most perfect late summer, almost fall days. The kind of day that makes people fall in love with the Northeast USA.
This afternoon, the sun broke out and I took this glorious picture of my cow town and one of my favorite views. I went to a loving kindness meditation session (we can talk about that another time). Fifteen years of wisdom tells that the lesson to take forward and think about today is that people are truly good. In adversity and sorrow, they show you how triumphant and solid their spirits are indeed. Trouble will find us all, in so many forms, but no matter what, the skies do always clear. It’s going to rain again, but today, blue sky. Nothing but blue healing sky.
The world churns madly on.
Yesterday, I went sailing. The wind was just puffy enough on our little bay. The sun was shining. It was perfection. The sun said goodnight in a blaze of orange goodness.
Except every year I forget that the sailing part can only follow the contortionist upside down yoga rigging the boat time, various bumps and bruises time and a required period of coordination that I never even have on land.
This past year has been a bit like that. Gorgeous peaceful bliss can only be earned by time proverbially banging my head and balancing upside down.
Today is my birthday. It’s been a triumphant twelve months round the sun but it’s also been horrible – not planning to candy coat it. Being in your forties is humbling. I have gotten so much better at so many practical things (please read that as it was implied, I am definitely more mindful and not an owner of a whole plantation of bananas, maybe I own just a small plot these days) but life never does let up.
Here is the great news – there are beautiful sunsets to start the next year right, I actually can balance upside down on a bobbing boat (in life and on the water) and I made it – heart healed, tougher, smarter and well, you get it.
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Even if I didn’t write about them, I did have some lovely adventures and I love a sunset all over the world. Here’s 2015’s collection.
California for some calm and a birthday, Mexico for some chalupas and time with my cub, Michigan for a coney hot dog and some love, Cape Cod as a constant, rounding out the year with cafes in France, Costa Rican coffee and life in my cow town too.
Happy happy new year to all my loves.