December 31st, 6pm
In six hours, the year will renew itself. In six hours, I will be in bed, tossing the blankets over my head to muffle the sound of the city celebrating. I will wake with knots in my hair and bags under my eyes to the sound of dogs howling. They will be confused, like the birds in the trees—animals lost in the yawps of the world exploding. I will not be exploding, will not shout out that yes, I made it through another year. Because it is just another day, a marker we have made. But if I were to look back at this year, turn my eyes back in my mind to see what I have seen this year, I would be looking at a wandering, sometimes lonely soul finding itself wonderfully trapped in unbelievably amazing circumstances. A renewed writing career, a meeting of a new friend, a job finally quit, vacations with the purpose of writing, a move to a new city, the accumulation of day jobs, the feeling of reading another email in which the sender informs me of an accepted essay, the quitting of day jobs and the preparation to begin another real job, the continued writing through all of this, and the constant realization that yes, this is home.
December 31st, 7pm
This year I learned to light candles. I have learned to sit and watch the snow pour down, to see the world as it lives outside of me. And when I look out, look up from my notebook, I feel that world inside of me. This year, I learned to follow the rhythm of my body, to wake up in the early hours to a mind that is constantly writing. I have learned to let that be the case, to know that it is true to myself, this pattern of waking, writing, breathing, living.
December 31st, 8pm
On this final night of the year, I watch the sky confuse itself with the earth. Outside, the world has turned white as the snow whorls around bare tree limbs. Inside, my candle is lit while my eye lids begin to droop. I would force myself to stay up and watch the year tick over, but that is not what is important to me. Instead, I will follow the rhythms of my body, lie down with my heavy breath, and wake to the still white of the world in my favorite 3am hour. Because it is those early morning hours which I treasure the most, the morning meditation of words and writing that lifts my heart up to the new day. And tomorrow, I will rise at 3am like I have risen every morning this year, and I will celebrate the continuation of a practice, this life.
January 1st, 3am
And so it begins, and so it continues. It is the first day of a new year, a first day of this year in which I wake up early to write. It is a morning like every other morning. I did not wake a few hours ago to the sound of dogs howling at the world exploding, but only momentarily opened my eyes to the ding of my phone as it beeped in Happy New Year text messages from friends who do not live here. On this morning, I sit in the large comfy brown leather chair in the living room, my notebook in my lap, the window cracked open next to me, and a sharp wind juts in through the screen, winter finally making an announcement, briefly rustling the pages of my words, the first ones written in this new year.
Things that are the same in this new year: the lit candle, the blue pen, the spiral notebook, the phone keeping time, this first set in a series of ten minutes I will use to awaken my brain.
But there is something in me that says something should feel different. This happens every January 1st, this pressure to feel different and renewed. God knows where this pressure comes from. Society, probably, like most things that make me feel pressured. But nothing actually feels new or changed right now, on this morning, on this first day of 2012. The only difference I feel will be to remember to write 2012 for the date. And that feels odd, foreign, new. But I will adjust, like I always adjust to the new. Like I did to the newness of waking up at 3am to write for that first time just over a year ago. Like I did to the realization I had this past year that this body is mine, is something in which I can claim as my home.
These are my first moments in my new home for the first time in this new year. And it is a home I have always felt somewhere inside of me. The hard wood floors, the walls of books, the dogs’ nails that clatter on the floor, the chair in which to curl up and write, the writer friend just down the hall, the body as it continues to find comfort in this home.
I sense this new year will bring me to a newer sense of home. I have been progressing to that concept this past year. And on this first day of a new year, I find myself in my home, breathing with a refreshed breath that, yes, I am here.
Happy New Year, New Day, The Everyday.