Thursday, January 01, 2015

A New Year’s Day’s Night Meditation

One of the remarkable things about New Year’s Day is that it is precisely one week out from Christmas. Now think back to Christmas. Seems a lot longer than a week ago, doesn’t it? Like it isn’t even part of the normal time stream. 

Indeed, I’ve noticed that, in most cases, Christmas stops being Christmas at around 10 a.m. Christmas Day or when the last present is opened, whichever comes first. A topic for a proper rant, but not now. For now, just a thought exercise. We’re one week out from Christmas. And now New Year’s Day is over. How about that? Anyone got any holiday spirit left?

Of course, if you work retail, I imagine you’re glad to see it all go. Another rant, another day.

This is one of those years we’ve left the tree up, and though it does seem somewhat awkward and out of place now and ready to come down, I’ve been prevented from going out to the shed to get the boxes due to the unusually heavy snow today. 

At least it was clear last night for the fireworks fired from the top of Pikes Peak, visible from the back patio of my modest bungalow on the north side of Colorado Springs. My wife, bless her, has a tendency to talk and talk and talk while things are going on, and this time it wasn’t during a TV show or a movie, but while I’m watching the snowpack of Pikes Peak light up red and blue and green beneath the distant fireworks exploding above the summit. Of all the subjects she has to bring up is what folk in South Carolina, where we hope to be this time next year, do for New Years.

“Nothing,” I say. “Drink and shoot off their backyard fireworks, if they have any.”

“Well, don’t they have something in Irmo, a chitlin thing, a—?”

“An Okra Strut,” I say, my face falling as I realize I’ve seen the last firework explode over Pikes Peak, probably forever, and here’s my wife prattling about summer festivals 1,800 miles away. At once I was struck by the cruel irony—or fair tradeoff, depending on your mood—that a return to South Carolina means more than an escape from these horrible deep freezes the Pikes Peak region is prone to. We’ll probably never see a decent fireworks show again on New Year’s Eve. Not if we’re living out in the country, which is indeed the plan.  

No, we’ll likely be at home, and despite the fact that the primary reason for the move is proximity to friends and family, we’re likely not going to get together to drink in the New Year. New Year’s Eve will basically be me on the back porch with a beer in the dark, and nothing more. No fireworks off of 14,000-foot mountains.

As I’ll have the rest of the year to enjoy my family and friends when we are out and about, with no one I care about more than two hours away by car, I’ll call it a tradeoff.

It looks to be a busy year ahead, and for that I am grateful. As I am for you, my unseen and largely unspoken audience. If you’ve read this far, I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015. Whatever’s bringing us down, holding us back—let’s send that back with the Ghost of Christmas Past. This is another month, another year, another day. The Ghost of Right Now is all we need concern ourselves with. The Spectre of Yet to Come will take care of himself