It feels odd to take a year and try to pare it the way a chef would an orange – good slices and bad, delicious and unpalatable. I think because time, to me, always has a fluency about it – this rapid forward motion that makes it almost impossible to corral, or to section off in any way. Months have a tendency to overlap, years to blend together, and only much later do they stand apart in any fashion. And then only through the largest of events – a birth, a death, blizzard or house fire or baptism.
And so, I’m capturing 2013, now, on the very edge of it's demise. Before it begins to fade and blend
This was the year of the book! The little girl inside me – who wrote her first full length novel at age fourteen – was, and still is, thrilled beyond measure to hold the finished work in her hands. Joy, joy!
Another bright thread in the weave looks like this – a patient winking at me, just once, from his hospital bed, breaking my heart in an instant, so that I can barely catch my breath. Such a sweet, crystalline sorrow. I know I won’t see him again.
(And how could elation and heartbreak have much the same effect? Chest tightened, soul squeezed, sudden awareness of the heart beating. Maybe these emotions aren’t so far apart as we believe them to be? Thought for another day.)
In between the pinnacles – my first anniversary; I love him! Our last high school graduation, Johnny grown up! – lies the middle ground of life. And that looks a little like this – my kids and I at midnight Mass. We hold hands during the Our Father, and while I know the brothers are squeezing the blood flow from each other’s fingers, I am still absurdly grateful for this moment. The four of us together, happy and healthy.
Or this – my bedroom by lamplight, long shadows on the cream-colored walls. Here is a refuge; I am safe and warm and loved.
My daughter, home on summer break and pedaling ahead of me down the bike path with the sun on her hair and the wind carrying her laughter.
My parent’s house – home – on Sunday, with the fantastic noise of siblings, nieces and nephews, Mom and Dad. Another year gone by, and this thread is still strong and vital.
My partner and I after a particularly rotten call. The helicopter noise has faded into the distance and we are going about the business of red-bagging our bloodied equipment, and he manages a joke. I don’t remember the joke now, it isn’t important. What matters is the effort, taut smile held bright against the blackness of that day. We’re here for each other, and that means everything.
Or maybe 2013 could be summed up in the simple image of our cat asleep on the couch. Little fat black kitty, so content, he must know more than the rest of us.