Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Days

Calhoun’s Cannons for Jan 6, 2012

If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.
                                                                     Meister Eckhart

            A new year.  A new day.  The sun is wan and low, the daily temperature moving from the overnight 40’s to the daytime 70’s and back again, neither winter nor spring.  But the grapevines have finally given up amidst the confusing temperatures and have fallen into a deep slumber, their scraggy vines waiting to be clipped. An unexpected and early frost has already blasted the rest of the garden, except for the mallows and some sort of cascading ground cover that is improbably blooming and sending its pale blue flowers down over the concrete retaining wall.  A long surviving purple petunia, which was hiding under the lemon tree, has come back to life, and is now waving around its rococo petal ruffles.  Silly thing.  We may not be done with frosts so this brazen blooming is an act of foolhardy bravery. Bless its heart.

            Christmas has been packed away for another year, except for a package from dear friends in Florida that was saved for the new year. She and I try to see how much interesting, fun stuff we can cram into a U.S. Postal Service Flat Rate box.  Our motto has become, “If it don’t fit in the box, you ain’t getting it for Christmas.”  Unfortunately, the flat rate tended to encourage shipping things like a heavy cast iron door- stop shaped like a frog, so we also had to institute another rule: “If I have to dust it, I don’t want it.”

            So, in this year’s box are all manner of wonderful things, including cream white tea-towels and a pot holder with a black silhouette of a raven on it and the words “ravenous.”  Which were far too fine to actually use in the kitchen, so they promptly went up on the mantelpiece.  To collect dust.

            Well, there are rules and there are rules. No need to get too fussy about it all. Same goes for New Year’s resolutions.  I stopped making those years ago. I’ve already given up cigarettes and booze.  Those are vices for whippersnappers.  I no longer whip or snap.  And the dogs see to it that I get in a daily walk, so that resolution is really their doing, for which I can take no credit and can receive no smug sense of virtue.

            Besides, change is both habit and choice and those things are best when they strike at random, when you are ready for both.  Setting some arbitrary month for doing (or not doing) things is a set up for failure.  Like leaping out on stage at Carnegie Hall before you’ve had a single dance lesson.  Not likely to bring the crowd to their feet.

            No, no.  Stick with the small stuff that really is the big stuff.  About all I can manage daily is a resolution to try to remember Don Miguel Ruiz’ “The Four Agreements,” which I’ve stuck up on my computer so I can see them every morning:  Be Impeccable With Your Word / Don’t Take Anything Personally / Don’t Make Assumptions / Always Do Your Best. Remembering daily to follow those directions regularly keeps me out of a whole lot of unnecessary drama.  It’s also a reminder that we are all works in progress that unfortunately did not come with operating instructions.

            Which makes things both interesting and exciting.  And problematic. Bring Band-Aids.

            The dogs, of course, don’t bother with any of this foodle-fardle.  Their operating instructions are built in:  Run fast.  Have fun.  Chow down.  Sleep soundly.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

            Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good New Year’s Resolution for all of us. A new year.  A new month.  A new day.  A new hour.  A new minute.  Live it well. 


Anne R. Allen said...

I LOVE the ravenous towels. Wonderful even if you do need to dust them. (I love the Quentin Crisp quote: "the dust doesn't get any deeper after four years..") Happy 2012!

Sandra Gore said...

The "Don't Make Assumptions" Agreement is hardest. Sometimes it gets me out of bed to assume that my effort will change things. :)
Love and kisses for 2012 my dear friend.
p.s. aren't you glad I gave up on frogs a few years back?

Sewertoons said...

Poignant, true, insightful, useful, funny. A page turner on a flat screen! Thanks Ann!

Churadogs said...

hahahahah, re the dust doesn't get any thicker after four years. Since I live in a house of sand and dust (and dog hair) that's nice to know.