Friday, January 2, 2009


I’m a calendar purist. I’ve already mentioned that and probably will again. I can see that blogging will probably only heighten my tendency to track the movements of the earth and sun, each day spinning in and out, both creating and following oscillations of warmth and light.

Following my mother’s tradition, and her mother before her, I take all Christmas decorations down on New Year’s Day. By New Year’s Night, everything is dark. Almost severe in its starkness. And I find I like it, just as much as I liked the garlands, lights and ribbons. My home is a blank slate for the coming year. (Yes, those of you who’ve seen my home are chortling away at the idea that I’d call my wild collection of art and tchotchkes a blank slate, but you get the idea.)

So today is January 2 and it’s all down. I turn the year around, from what was to what will be. Which reminds me of a piece I wrote for a compilation with my writers group, the Silver Sage Writers Alliance, now defunct. There were twelve of us and we collaborated with an artist who created books at the university. We each took the month of our birth and wrote a piece about it. He created images to go with what we wrote. However, two of us were born in August and no one in December. Since the other August gal said she couldn’t possibly imagine writing about any other month, I took dark December and wrote this:

I drape my house liberally with white lights to stave off the dark nights. My celebration of Christmas takes root less from Catholic breeding than from pagan solstice ghosts. At the nadir of the year, I turn my eyes from the morning gloom and the afternoon dark and festoon my home with swathes of gold, ribbons of light, splashes of color. Giving gifts echoes that thrill. Each surprise a nest of potential pleasure. Boxes burst open and release something new. A quiver for my man. A bow for my son. Choosing well, I draw the sweet grey recurve, standing firmly rooted. The string singing beneath my fingers, I am Diana. Huntress, moon lover. Wild and free. Arrows of light fly from my hands. I reach out and turn the year around, back into light, back into life.

The pages of the book were made from the paper the artist’s students created. I saw many of them, hanging on lines to dry. But the grant also dried up and the project was never completed. There is no art book. Of the twelve of us, two are dead – and not the oldest either – six have moved, and one has not been heard from in years.

Auld lange syne. Raise a cup to the old. Turn it around and toast the new.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year, Jeffe. Love your blog, love the title, love the "Jeffe" brand on everything. And love your "dark of December" excerpt. Sending you blessings for the new season.


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