January 1: 2020. Twenty-twenty. May I see clearly where I’ve been and where I’m going. As Mary Oliver said, “It was early/which has always been my hour/to begin looking/at the world . . ./So many gifts! . . . /Sometimes I need/only to stand/wherever I am/to be blessed.”
January 2 : A few years ago I entered a sauna to find a woman lying on the top bench with her legs up the wall. My mind was startled but my body just smiled. Today at the end of yoga class, I briefly recreated that shape. Immediately I felt a sandbag of tiny hips spilling across my pelvis and telling my own not-so-tiny hips to just let go.
January 3: Kathy invited me to an art show here in Falls Church featuring the splendid pastel work of a college classmate. With my children long gone from the public schools, I’d forgotten how many people I cherish here in town. While Kathy raised a glass with her classmates, I lit up like a pinball bumper each time I saw a familiar face (or in the case of their grown sons, a marvelously changed one). How much fun school had been — for us grownups.
January 4: I’m going back to college! (Maybe.) On top of all the other wonderful things that befell me when I turned 60 (this blog, for instance), I’ve just learned that I — and perhaps you, dear Virginia reader — can audit classes at Virginia Tech and a handful of other Virginia state schools for free. Sure, I actually need to be admitted to the college. But literature, philosophy, writing, art appreciation, beer appreciation (is there a class for such things?) — here I come. Ooh, ooh, professor, call on me!
January 5: Sixteen-bean soup simmered on the stove, the Sunday Times lay scattered and read across the table, and a shaft of warm sun illuminated my comfy blue couch. For all the beauties of nature, sometimes an afternoon nap is the best delight of all.
January 6: Sixteen days ago, I acknowledged the winter solstice as our morning and evening darkness reached its zenith. Sixteen days before that, I mourned as I watched the daylight rapidly slipping away. Too short, too short, I declared the day. Today, with the same hours of daylight I rued 32 days ago, I rejoice that the morning light is so beautiful and that the sunset arrives later. Perspective changes everything.
January 7: The same email pinged on everyone’s phones during our meeting: with snow on the horizon, the Office of Personnel Management told us to leave the office and resume work activities at home. So, laden with laptop and piles of papers, I travelled from my desk to the packed Metro to the rain-pelted street. Home at last, tea kettle on and laptop fired up, I gaze now out my window: the school bus (and the sudden cotton-ball snow) announce themselves by the songs of the children. All ages, they dance in front of my window with coats unzipped, arms flung wide and tongues reaching snow-ward. My kettle finally calls me away. And the children’s umbrella-huddled parents apparently summoned them, for when I look out my window again, I see only cotton-ball snow and traces of joy.