File Cabinets

A Year Not So Neatly Wrapped

The last column of the year is supposed to be a round-up of sorts, a “best of,” or for the snarkier among us, a “worst of” the year that’s heaving its final sigh. Since I’ve been in a constant state of consolidation, rejection, recommitment for the past few months, the calendar and its ominous page flipping are having minimal impact on me this year.

I’ve been working from home since the second week of November, a traditionally slow time for us. The advantage for me is that, in between calls and computer work, I am able to squeeze in a good amount of personal puttering during the day. Since 2020, my normally organized poetry has been shoved as it happens into that same folder. Just as it seems to be time to unmask in most situations, so it is time to sort out the poems of the last three years into their own folders. I’ve acquired a couple of new (to me) file cabinets, a bit larger and sturdier, for this task of sorting, focusing on just a few projects, finally rejecting some altogether. It has taken a lot of brain power to just find a way to position said cabinets in my gingerbread house-sized residence. My Beloved requires a decent amount of home workspace now, too, and I trust the mind wanderings of twilight hours morning and night to provide me with solutions, Marie Kondo be damned.

I’ve got the week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and sometimes too much time is a challenge. My father had a fall last week, and is in the hospital again. His COPD complicates every other issue. I am concerned of course, but also trying to apply the tenets of mindfulness I’ve had drilled into me at my place of work, consciously or not. He is too far for me to visit easily, so I am dependent on phone calls and the experience of others. I, we, are safe here now,
and there are too few days to allow some of them to be rattled by regret and dread. I think I am getting better at this, but I will be tested and probably fail. But today… peace.

When the Scarecrow asks Dorothy what she’s learned on her weird journey through Oz, she has a ready answer. This is how we know she’s only a teenager pretending to be a child. At 60, 61 early in the new year, I have fewer answers than ever. Most often I discover I don’t need to know as much as I thought. I am not alone, and my dear ones are all too aware of my emotional shortcomings to require much of me. This lets me surprise them when I can. I look forward to the new year, and honor all the years before for their lessons and experiences. Daylight hours increase from this point on, until they decrease again just as we are getting used to them. The temperatures fall and rise, snow and rain both arrive, and so many complain, act surprised, as if they don’t deserve any of it. Right now, the night’s darkness is giving way to a pale indigo sky. My coffee is getting cold. I scratch my head, and take a breath.