New Year’s day 2023 and I’m sitting next to a wet pug, while a sodden beagle and slightly damp kelpie snore on the slate floor. We’ve all been down to the creek where the horseflies swarm and the dogs paddle through the cascading rills and the snakes shrink under their rocks and nurse their new year’s eve hangovers…
And my boy isn’t here, which hurts as much as ever (although NYE with Felix was always, for one reason or another, awkward). There was the eve we spent with my ex-boyfriend scowling on the couch because my son had his arm around me…and the one just at the beginning of what everyone calls The Fires (‘Where were you in The Fires?’ we all ask one another) when my son was afraid the house would burn down, and the one where I went to a barbecue and he stayed home alone…in fact, I was never very good at New Year’s Eve.
However, I am good at resolutions. I generally make more than I need, and keep most of them. It’s a way of holding the reins together as this muddled chariot lurches forward…I may not have anywhere to go on NYE but by NYD I definitely do, at least on paper. Two books, passable Greek, hens, being able to plink out something on my electronic piano keyboard, and a monthly dose of intellectual adventure, that’s the Plan for 2023. If I were a more altruistic person this list would include stuff like volunteering at homeless shelters, but I’m not, and it doesn’t. That said, three dogs and one kitten are the better for my existence, so god or whoever, take note.
I’ve learned a few things about myself this year. One is, I’m contrary. I always want the thing that’s over the other side of the fence. Whatever you think, I don’t. Whoever I hook up with, I’d rather have the other one. And Two? I’m never going to be able to write Stephen King’s IT. Or anything that long! I just don’t have that much to say, let alone the observational skills to be able to render a small dysfunctional US town into ghastly reality. In fact increasingly, the only thing I’ve got to say is ‘I disagree!’ Help me out here, give me something to disagree with or I’ll just wither away…
My daughter wishes to go to the US, but I’m convinced all dreadful things begin and end there. You only have to look at the cultural products of the place to know what it’s like. Where do Stephen King’s monsters decide to set up house? Where does the zombie apocalypse always start? No Country for Old Men? The Colour Purple? Eight Mile? Police Academy III. Any song by Bruce Springsteen. That’s right, North America. And I haven’t even got to Marjorie Taylor-Greene yet! Thank God I live in a country where all we’ve got to worry about is snakes and spiders!
Small achievements in the garden motivate me and occupy my dreams. Things like putting cardboard down under the fruit trees so worms can frolic, and growing pumpkins from seed in a heap of grass clippings, and cleaning the gutters. Small challenges keep me groping ahead – the pull cord on the tank pump just broke. My dog’s questing snout in the morning is a rare source of delight…how I do love thee, oh Darcy the yap machine.
Here is a poem about it… Life, that is. Not you, Darcy.
This is how it was
Young, so full of being, bright, wild, I’d feel it pushing at my skin
Like light contained, an atom yet unsplit
Waiting for a word.
This is how it is
In fits and starts like a loose wire, life goes on, small pleasures please still
Until memory sends its barbed arrow
Deep into the heart
Also, here are some discounted vampires, including the inimitable Lady Charlotte.
Nice post. Sorry, but I’ve been unable to read ‘All the Evils.’ Whichever version I choose, I find myself having to download programs I don’t want, or can’t access. I’m used to reading on Kindle or as a gmail attachment, but even that doesn’t work. I’ve tries several times. I apologise for my ineptitude, but I don’t have time or energy for further efforts.
Not a problem. Thanks for all the effort.
Love the poem!
Thank you x
Are you saying that Felix was socially awkward? If so, I think we might have got along quite well 🙂 I’m the sort of person who would sneak off to a quiet place at a big party, if there was one to be found, but never by myself – I preferred the company of two or three other deserters. I’d have flashes of gregariousness, but they were too hard to maintain for very long. Sneaking off made me feel seditious – I mean, how wrong to not be partying like a popular girl – so in a weird sort of way, there was a wee bit of a thrill to it – lol!
Yeah, he could be. More that I didn’t really know or have the emotional intelligence to handle him. He would at times make it very clear he didn’t want to go out, but not really what he wanted to do instead. He’d probably have liked to be spending the night with friends but had only a few who were elsewhere. Like me at that age, he may have been somewhat of a disappointment to himself. And who really wants to party with Mum! ☺️ like you I’m prone to sporadic bouts of outgoingness followed by long periods of corner dwelling. I like talking to people until I get bored and if I don’t get bored I like to have long intense conversations. Not exactly party girl material either.
I’m the worst at New Year’s resolutions. I’ve long since given up on the concept that I can retain more than a “less than a month” bit of attention to any given project/problem. Never mind raw will-power, which I invariably find I have in vastly more limited supply than I believe; life is so chaotically entangled with everything I find it simply impossible to devote any serious effort to a given chunk of it once it’s subsumed in the mix (i.e., on the second of January).
This is a weird New Year for me anyhow — I finally managed to retire, literally on January 1st, which event I’ve kept about as secret as a brass parade — and I find that I’m in a weird chunk of life that feels uncannily like a speedboat at full throttle whose engine unexpectedly dies, instantly nosing into the water to Zero MPH/KPH, utterly quiet except for the slosh of the following waves of my own passing rushing by. And I find I’m good with that, at least for the moment.
Congratulations on your retirement! Yeah, that’s a perfect summary of the experience. What I like about it most is not having bosses. Or teams. Whoever said there’s no I in team was absolutely right as far as I’m concerned. I need to feel I’m going somewhere, though, or at least not drifting backwards. Thus the Greek. Yassou! ( Lesson I, in case you’re wondering).
Ancient Greek or modern?
If your daughter would like to come to the US, may I suggest a 1-to-1 population exchange?
Ha ha, absolutely. Although the deal would be to our advantage in some ways. One somewhat right wing, cranky, brilliant, sweet and extremely good-looking Aussie for one leftish? ex philosopher who would lift the tone of the place 😁
If I were just a few decades younger, you’d have given me a perfect incentive to stay put! Luckily for all concerned, I am not a few decades younger….
And modern Greek. Did ancient in my youth, now forgot.
Well yeah. I forgot to add gay. But really, you should come and see the place. If only for the crocodiles 😊