I’ve been taking a little break from writing and settling into my reading instead. The holidays gave enough justification for me to do it with only the slightest twinge of guilt. That little twinge of guilt made me decide that I would at least share the favorites of my holiday reading spree, so here are two things that I think are worth a read. First, I’ve been settling into my annual read of Winter Solstice. Reading Rosamunde Pilcher is like settling into a warm bath. The worlds she creates surrounds me in comfort and the warmth soaks right into my bones. Each year I pick up my favorite of her books like an old friend and settle myself into a story filled with good people, with love and friendship and good food. All too quickly I turned the last pages and knew that soon I’d return to reality. But it’s not quite the New Year yet, so I figure I can put it off a little longer and spend just a bit more time reading and resting without too much guilt.
The second is not a book but a blog. This morning I read this post and instantly, I’m in love. Her description of a slow mountain town comes alive on the page. Reading it, I feel like I’m there. I can see the movement of wind on the lake and feel the chill of mist coming off the water. There’s magic in the way a story can pass an experience from one mind to another, and this one had me spellbound.
That’s all I have to say, for now. I’ll be watching the clock tick towards midnight and crossing my fingers that the New Year will bring good things. I know we all could use them right now.
Okay, I lied. I’m not done yet. After I thought I was finished writing I went upstairs and piled all my notebooks from the last two years on my desk. I was wondering what I was doing on this day, December 31st, last year. Oddly enough, the end of my notebook and the end of the year coincided perfectly so the last few pages belong to December 31st, and on January 1st I started a new one. So it was easy to find what I was looking for. This might be my favorite part of my notebooks. They enable me to answer these inane questions of when and where and what happened. I’m not sure anyone but me will find this interesting, but here is what I wrote:
It’s here, the final day. The last few pages. I’m sitting at a cafe downtown on my lunch break. It’s Thursday but I have tomorrow off for New Years. The sunrise has been beautiful the last few days. Cold, clear mornings, with frost on the railings of the deck. Ned and I went running—it was freezing. We ran down the road instead of cutting through the stairs so we could check whether the road was icy. Then we ran down to the water and stopped, just to look out across the water for a bit. My legs are tired and sore, it feels like I pulled something, maybe from rock climbing. I went climbing yesterday right after work. I was feeling a little crazy, my head spinning from stress and caffeine and lack of sleep. We had family visiting for Christmas too, and that always adds to the stress. There was just too much to do and I got overwhelmed. I thought climbing might help, and it did, like it always does.
It’s been a short week for me. Good thing, too, because I’ve been so tired. I’m feeling a lot better today though. I think the exercise is helping me feel better—still soft, round, and blob-like from all the holiday inactivity—but better. Good even. I like this cold weather. The frost and clear sunlight. I wore my bulky warm scarf today and a layer of flannel. I feel cozy, all bundled up. We’re going to dinner tonight with friends. I can’t remember the name of the place we’re going but it’s the Something Room. Oh, right, the Dunbar Room. It sounds fancy, like the room of a mansion. Like, the Sun Room, or the Billiard Room. Now I’m thinking about playing Clue as a kid. Ms. Flannel, with the scarf, in the Dunbar Room.
So it’s dinner tonight and then a three, maybe four day weekend. And my birthday. I’m trying to get Monday off so my birthday won’t be a normal Sunday. I hate Sundays. Me and Sundays, we have a rough relationship. We have an agreement though, where I try not to think about them too much and they promise only to come once a week. It seems to be working okay so far.
I’ve been reading through my journal. I’ve been trying to think about this year in broader strokes. What 2015 has been for me. Finishing a year and a journal at the same time, I feel obligated to take a moment of reflection. To make something of these last few pages. This time last year, partner and I were newly serious but not yet living together. I was journaling sporadically. I’m trying to remember what we did for my birthday last year but I can’t seem to recall.
An older guy and his wife just came in. He walked up to me and said he was a tourist. He said he was assuming I was a local and asked if I was writing a book. I told him I was just writing on my lunch break. His wife was standing in line, glancing over at her errant husband. I wondered if he walked up to random people in cafes a lot. But he apologized for bothering me on my on break. You get one quiet hour in the day and here I am barging up and bothering you. I didn’t have a moment to tell him how quiet it is at the office this week. Everyone is on vacation except a few people left behind, holding down the fort. I don’t need any more quiet, but he and his wife buy coffees and leave.
…I’m home now. I got a bottle of Rendezvous Rye, from High West, and made myself a mini sazerac. Mini, as in half of everything. If I may toot my own horn, for a moment, I must say that I am quite happy with my sazerac. Although I suspect that the rye is doing all the work really. I suppose I don’t need some grand conclusion here. The day is done, the year is done, this journal is done. Not with a grand finale like a play or a symphony, but like life.
Things are, until they end.
Here’s to the turning of the year,