First, and most importantly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Of course, we all know, it’s really just another day, the “year” concept being an arbitrary construction of our brain’s need for order. But, hey: “Just another day?” Maybe there’s no such thing. Not “just another day,” but HOLY S___!, WE GET ANOTHER DAY!!!!
2023 has not been my best year. And yet, as I’ve said countless times, I’m not dead yet. I said that as a joke initially, but as time went on I learned to appreciate it for what it really is: A privilege and an honor to wake up every morning, in a life where I am not homeless, starving, or under siege.
That’s my commitment for the New Year, to savor and delight in all that I have. Not just today, or even every morning when I write in my gratitude journal, but moment by moment.
I’m inspired by Ross Gay’s book, The Book of Delights, in which the award-winning poet inspires us to inhale the small and wondrous things which surround us. My list is endless. The scent of Skip’s paws. The velvet soft fur between Maggie’s eyebrows. The blue of Jim’s eyes. The white, orange, and yellow colors of the supplements I take. (Admittedly, the sheer quantity of them makes that a push.)
But, then. There’s the brilliant writing in my new favorite novelist’s book: Ariel Lawhon’s The Frozen River. The green shoots of tulips coming up in the bulb garden sitting on our dining room table from White Flower Farm. Skip standing on his hind legs, unable to contain his excitement, as I open the door on the way to the sheep.
As I said, the list is endless. Ross Gay suggests calling out DELIGHT! to friends or to yourself when something strikes you, as a way to entrain appreciation in the small wonders of the world. What a wonderful thing to do.
This will not save the earth, end wars, feed the starving, or rescue the suffering, no matter the species. We are all called to do what we can, no matter how small, to right the wrongs of the world. We must, simply must, if we are at all able, do something to try to help others on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean it is wrong to savor what is good, not just the tiny things, but especially the tiny things. To buoy ourselves up lest we get pulled down by the riptide of all that is wrong.
Last year my New Year’s post focused on how I wanted to feel in 2023, not so much what I wanted to accomplish. I still love that perspective. Here’s what I wanted: To feel Loved and Loving. Amused. Curious. Delighted. Awed.
Whoops, said the woman who developed Epstein Barr-related Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in early 2023, along with a boring bunch of other stuff. Ah, the irony. But hey, five out of six isn’t bad.
And all the more reason to learn to savor what we do have, no matter how inconsequential it might seem at the time. You never know.
So. DELIGHT is my Word, my Feeling, and my To Do list for 2024. I hope you also find much to delight in. Look around–what about right now?
MEANWHILE, back to the farm: Jim, Maggie, Skip, and I wish you a Happy New Year, as safe and loved as Maggie is here, in our tiny, but cozy, farmhouse living room. Maggie’s 11th birthday is January 3rd. There will be ice cream.
Reality check: The small table on the left of the couch contains two African Violets (one, from friend Donna’s mother Rose, might almost be as old as I am.) Although the living room had just been dusted and vacuumed for company, the dog hairs decorating the plants never fail to disappear, no matter how painstakingly I try to pick them off. I am reminded of that great quote I posted a while ago from FB: “#1 Reason the house is dirty: The dogs are alive.”
Here’s something to delight in: We warmed our hearts on the Solstice while enjoying the bonfire at Mazomanie’s Wolf Run Trail, one of our favorite local walks.
This gorgeous puzzle from eeBoo was a Christmas present from dear friends, D & J. It brought a disproportionate amount of joy into our household–the colorful addition to our dining room made me happy for the entire two days that it was out. (Only 500 pieces, but, honestly, it was delightful to have something so enjoyable accomplished.
So much to delight in! Let’s celebrate as a Village and call out DELIGHT! here, and DELIGHT! there. No matter how small. Perhaps, even, the smaller the better? You, dear Village, are one of my favorite delights of all. Not small, but truly precious. I wish you so many good things this year. Thank you for being here.