Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve, last hurrah of a hideous year. And yet there have also been wonderful things.

First on my own list: my three boys, of course, who have been patient and brave and loving and funny and resourceful, despite disappointments, fear, and frustration.

Also, the garden: asleep now, but a three-season source of joy and curiosity and hope and dirt and meals, not just for me but for my neighborhood . . . flowers as conversation, flowers as change. Plus, the new walkway that Tom laid, the new garden beds ready for spring, Koji the Japanese maple and the infant shrubs . . . so much to look forward to in April.

And the cat: Ruckus the Vain, Ruckus the Bossy: super-domestic short-hair big-mouth, fount of silly stories, hogger of yellow chairs, major trigger of family comedy routines. 

And the kitchen: so many advancements! . . . countertop, tile backsplash, spice cupboards. A lot of happiness can arise from incremental renovation: I adore every little addition.

And new friendship: especially getting to know my neighbor, a fine gardener, a busy lawyer, a good baker, smart and funny, who is now my pandemic walking partner.

And the mixed blessings of Zoom: On so many levels I hate Zoom (eye exhaustion, social awkwardness, the distractions of hopeless vanity, the boringness of much Zoom programming, etc., etc.). But it has also opened teaching doors for me that will stay open. And it has actually allowed me to lose weight and gain strength over the course of these pandemic months, thanks to my yoga and exercise teacher, who is cheerful and gentle and persistent, and early on began offering $5 classes from her house across town.

And the poets: How the poets have stepped up! Friendship, urgency, collaboration . . . My reading projects with Teresa, for instance. And the drafts that my friends have written, the wrestling they've done. 

And my own mind: Yes, I clean too much these days. And I struggle to focus. I work ridiculously hard to pay attention to Proust and Byron and Dante; none of that is coming easily. Nonetheless, the workings of my mind comfort me . . . a way to remember, "Here I am."

And the successes: I was a finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series. I have a New & Selected forthcoming next year. Beloit published a large chunk of my diary manuscript. Vox Populi regularly features my poems. These are satisfactions. They don't matter as much as most of the other things on this list, but they don't not matter either. 

Maybe you should make your own list. I'm finding it soothing, and also revivifying, as I buckle my sword belt for 2021. 

Sending love, friends--


Ruth said...

I too have a long list of blessings. Wishing you and your family The Most Splendiferous of New Year's!!!

Ang said...

Thank you Dawn for what you add to our lives!

Read this aloud last night:

Limits by Jorge Luis Borges

There is a line of Verlaine I shall not recall again,
There is a nearby street forbidden to my step,
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time,
There is a door I have shut until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I have them before me)
There are some I shall never reopen.
This summer I complete my fiftieth year:
Death reduces me incessantly.

translated by Anthony Kerrigan

Joy said...

I too have written a list of blessings, gifts, and lessons from this year--and surprised myself at how very long it in fact is. Among them, Dawn, are the doors you have helped me open this year. (Mad sonnets are my thing!) Thank you.

Happy New Year! Looking forward to the new year's gifts!

David (n of 49) said...

'...for what you add to our lives" - yes.