i don't know about the rest of you, but i for one am immensely relieved and happy to bid old 2011 farewell. it was not one of my favorite years, for all the reasons you'd imagine, and a few more sprinkled in amongst the obvious. rough year. sad, scary, frustrating. the death of my father was monumental - something that came to us slowly, i think, in those months of his decline. it was huge, and continues to affect us in such gigantic, knee-aching ways. the holidays were of course very different for my family and me this time around - such a large gap there was in the space that daddy filled, there in the couple of chairs he always occupied while we all milled and fussed and fretted around him, the very center of our familial universe. that's what he was, to us. my mother is such an incredible trooper - ever stalwart, ever stoic, so unlike this emotional younger daughter of hers who blurts out whatever is on my mind at the moment the thought is born. i never know to wait and let things mellow, i never know how to simply let things be. the greatest gift to me on christmas day was what you see above: yet another note from daddy that surfaced in the most unlikely of places. that morning i was puttering around their house in alabama before the rest of the family arrived; robin was with me, for small pockets of time here and there, and he thankfully was able to sleep over on christmas eve so that he could wake up with mama and me on christmas morning (roy had to work on christmas day, and flew down the day after to spend a couple of days visiting back and forth between his dad's and grandparents' house and with us there at my mother's). at some point in the late morning, in search of a tealight candle, i randomly opened a tiny drawer of the antique desk that graces my parents' living room. there on top of a few other paper relics was a note to me from daddy, dated january 2009. i don't remember his leaving it for me, as he was prone to do - we'd find notes on post-its, on scraps of brown paper bags, on laundry tickets... anything at close hand upon which he could scrawl a small note that declared his enormous love. ever since he died last may, i've been finding those notes in the oddest of places - tucked inside an antique book that i've decided for no reason to pull down from a shelf and open; taped within the pages of one of the books that featured my artwork (daddy was my biggest fan, and kept a file box of all of those books, of every article that was written); tucked into an envelope in the stretchy side pocket of my worn suitcase. the notes are gifts, appearing out of nowhere like that as if he were sending them to me for the very first time, when most i need to read his words again. little miracles, i think of them - words from the past, breaking through to the present for a loving father's daughter to find and hold close to her heart.
so now, many days and remembrances later, i've come back home to the mountains once again. after being away for over two weeks, it feels a little odd to be sitting alone here at my bank of windows looking out to the woods and the rolling horizon off to the west. it's always difficult for me to find the rhythm of my own quiet days, once i've been away ensconced in holiday flurries, spending uninterrupted precious time with family, running errands on now-foreign streets, driving my mother's car, cooking in my mother's kitchen. my own tiny cluttered cubbyhole of a kitchen feels like someone else's other than my own; it is a rental, so i guess that much is true. it is a challenge, i realize now, to fold back into the version of myself that is the one who lives alone here in the mountains, far from anyone, remote, isolated, in utter solitude. this year will bring some major changes, some that are long overdue. what those changes are, i'll talk about at some point soon. for now, i'm simply ruminating in my first post of 2012, declaring my word for the year. it is a word of action, of change, of moving forward, of many positive things. it came to me as clearly as any one word could, as i was driving the six hours' of ribboned road yesterday back from alabama to here: manifest. it rose up from a jumble of everything else, from memories of what has been, of what i want to be, of things that i wish for myself that i need to make a reality. it is my word for twelve new months, and i will be putting it to good use for what i hope will be a very full year of tremendous transformation. i'm asking all of you, each and every one, to help me stay on task with my goal of manifestation. happy brand new year to you all; happy, shiny new everything. xo