(Written December 18th, 2019, posted today, iPhone photos and all.) I took today off to breathe, but really, to catch up around the house: to clean pockets of receipts that have accumulated, iron a few straggling shirts, and maybe make some hummus. But first, I sat on the couch with a hot water bottle, struggling to warm on a bitter day here, and fell asleep. This is how this season has felt: more to do than energy or motivation can meet. A longing for a season of rest, when really this season never gifts rest, but an anticipation of it. And so I anticipate deeply as I see all to do: computer wires that need to be hidden, a thirsty tree, needles stuck on my socks.
I've been playing catchup on this blog for the last 8 years, it seems, since we moved to New York. Always having the desire to share beauty more than the spark. Sometimes, I'm sure, reading this you can feel that. I persist for the same reason I write: if I don't now, I never will.
As this year closes, I remember the bird feet on pines, dropping snow clods into soft snow in Lapland.
I remember the salty winds and maroon succulents of Newfoundland.
And we don't need to think too far to remember the stags scraping fur off their antlers in the Highlands of Scotland. It was a year of trips to dream about.
And it was a year of tears, like all years. Migraine pain hard to capture in words but that comes to the bottom lids of eyes even in remembrance. It was a year, like all, of labwork dread and trains stuck in tunnels. Of airport traffic (baby, what a year!) and wishing so hard the people we love could come by for a snack, when they are really thousands of miles away. All time is full of longing, but this year felt heavier with it. And the trying, so very hard, to grasp the present moment in the time it truly takes, not only in anticipation or memory.
Last photo of 2019, somewhere between Minnesota and NYC.
Perhaps this is all a bit much to be sharing on a travel blog, because I do anticipate being in new, remote places like almost no other anticipation in my life. And yet it is not the season of planning yet. This time's only peace comes not in knowing, but in being as we are, in the mixture of ceramic and incandescent colorful tree lights. As freezing rain soaks under the umbrella in city gusts. Right now, as the sound of the air purifier, and the cars carry the sun's light across the water on the FDR, each a mirror of the sun behind my building I can't see at this time of day: recognizing I am human and have saturated in so much this year.
What will 2020 hold? I want to know so badly. But knowing is not the answer. A heart that keeps practicing holding, and holding more and putting it down sometimes, and picking it up sometimes: this is what I know for sure. My heart will break, and then grow. The world is weary now, my friends. I'm sitting with open magazines telling me Where To Go in 2020.
In 2020, I long not only to go, but for more time to sit, technology out of sight, by candlelight. More time to stop creating a seamless habitat or experience, and time to be with those that we love in imperfection. More time in joy and not fear for what is ahead. More time in remote places that show new glimpses of both landscape and who we are in new places. Onward!