I began the year in the same place that I ended it, a home which was built deep in the valley where I was born, surrounded by the people I have known and loved the longest. It was a quiet celebration this year, the air outside frigid and the fire small. But for those who braved the roads and the possibility of dead car batteries, the evening was one of laughter, food and merriment of all kinds. I rewove my story of the last year into many people's hands, giving them the bits of myself that I could when it had been twelve months since we'd been in this house in the forest, relaying our last years.
2013 began in routine. I began with a fast of waking in the earliest hours I could muster to keep creating this book I've been working on so earnestly, going on and on about being a writer. In all other parts of my life, I had found a place and a path and was determined to keep at it, made plans and decided to see them through. There was a house and a plan I had decided were mine; I had put my things into the cracks and decorated the windowsills slowly and I was driving back and forth across town to make my own. As all of it began to unravel, I held hard against the moving dances of the rip tide. But life is a system of waves, spins of the wheel, moons filling and pouring out their hearts upon our weary heads, and if you don't give into life, it will steal out from under you and trip you regardless of your trying to slow it. By the end, even though I had held so bravely and fought so hard, I realized I even wanted an earth quake to come through and take down the house I was making; to leave me be in the place I still had for myself.
I picked up the pieces of myself that had been discarded again in a quiet, sad month. I walked forward, into a jangling and crazed Fall of wild spinning, emotional heaving and laying down, dances with strangers that tied my brain up into knots which I spent frozen nights in my parent's home trying to unravel, trim and lay flat again.
This year I climbed many mountains, and they did not exhaust me the way the Rockies did the year I lived among them. This year I lived a life I know I will look back on in years to come and think of as one of the best times of my life. This year I was constantly planning, drawing upon maps in permanent markers, making notes and putting forth hopes and dreams for what will and will not be coming my way, then making things happen. This year I drove up and down California, dragging my friends up mountains, through forests and along coasts, calling out to the world to come down upon me, and stopping for many a glass of red wine. I opened the door of this heart each night, pushed against it and heaved it slowly and carefully so that the air of change and the whispers of intuition could come in. I grasped for the hands of acceptance, reminding myself of patience and gentleness, things I worry I am beginning to lose in this smoggy City of Angels.
And so, with a mug of champagne and a clearer head, I nod to all that was in 2013. Cups filled, then slipped, dinners made and eaten, lists checked off satisfied. I stepped into the frigid air of the beginning of 2014, looking up at Orion, the winter watchman whom I have not seen from my porch in California all year because of these city lights, and I rushed towards all that will be, giddy as a plan with a new lover.