First of the Year

Words, words, words, dripping off my pen on to the papers of young scholars. I have been awash in Canterbury Tales and now grisly Macbeth with no time to wander in the land of my own inclinations.  But New Year’s Day always call for thoughts to be thought and words to be written, words far from the realm of student essays.  Not that I believe New Year’s Day means a fresh start, a truly new year, or any such nonsense. We cannot shed the accumulated detritus of all that came before, but I do like the idea of looking through the mess and seeing what stories we can spin from the material the universe splattered against us.

Nineteen years ago, I began making serious New Year’s resolutions–not cliches and not ones lightly cast off.  And I try to keep at them.  But the key is that I only have one each year.  More than one becomes a chore to avoid.  Back then, the first time, I had my greatest success: I simply decided to work on my posture. In the midst of getting a master’s degree as I plowed my way through The Mysteries of Udolpho and the labyrinth of Derrida, I was actually getting more and more frequent headaches and decided they came from too much bending over books.  So posture it was, and easy enough to fulfill even when–especially when–sitting in traffic. And my headaches did get better; of course, glasses helped too, but all the same.

Other years I have focused on writing or friends or not picking at my cuticles (no luck with that one!).  This year, I still await the moment of inspiration to tell me what I want to think about for the year.  Photography would be good, or even writing in this space more consistently, but recently I have been haunted by one word–poetry.  That’s a scary one. Haven’t written anything worthwhile in several years, and do I really want to out myself as an erstwhile poet?  Couldn’t it be getting more sleep, or eating more creme brûlée?  I could get behind those in a New York minute.

I guess I will have to wait until the right idea percolates up or the universe flings something down. I just hope it’s something soft if it involves flinging. I wonder what yours might be for the year?

In the meantime, I will continue to reflect on my reflecting photos. Here’s the first of the year, from a pool of water on the path to Great Falls on New Year’s Day.  And I wish a peaceful and productive new year to us all.


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