I'm sitting in a cabin in Northwestern Washington state. H and his family are here, his mother rented the cabin for the holidays. The weather is completely different from Southern California. I've been preparing for this week of winter for months. I have warm boots, a coat with a reflective lining, two kinds of gloves, and I've been preparing mentally. Usually I don't like the cold at all but this time, prepared, I don't mind it much. The cabin is warm, the days are slow, filled with tea, reading and mostly quiet conversation.
We're close to the shore, a rocky swoop of beach covered in round stones and the exoskeletons of crabs, broken oyster shells. The wind comes down from the North, icy puffs that numb our faces while we walk. The beach is stuttered with driftwood, everything from small twigs to gnarled trunks, whorled and tangled with salt and seaweed. I'm not used to being this far North, the way the sun's arc is small, the light, when unobscured by the clouds, is at an angle that reminds me somehow of a sad violin. Maybe I'm melodramatic and miss my desert sky of bright blue, the sideways light reflecting off the pale green plants of the scrublands; the green up here is deeper, hungrier.
The end of the year is sometimes melancholic for me, looking back on everything I didn't get to do. This year everything is sweeter, such change and evolution. This has been the year of really getting into practices that ground me and the least few months I've been going deeper in the work that I've been craving for my entire life. I'm grateful. And love, this strange river carrying us places I didn't know I could go; even the rapids are good, the adrenaline and joy of getting through.
The writing has been a challenge this year, definitely. It comes harder but is so much sweeter for the struggle. Three novels, I've been chipping away at three novels. I'm crazy, maybe. But I have so much love for my characters, my flawed beauties navigating a world they don't completely understand. They're my friends at times. There is one character who roars at me when I need it, she has claws and teeth and isn't afraid to use them. And the licking of the wounds, the ones she gave me or ones received elsewhere, is glory; spit sacred.
There was an eclipse last night but the horizon here is small, trees tower, clouds hover. I wanted to see the orange moon but the sky didn't cooperate. Earlier in the evening the sky was willing and the stars and planets orbiting got me in the heart-gut. I once learned a way to look at small clusters of stars or planets without actually looking at them; it's about peripheral vision. If I want to give my attention to a particular star or planet, I look at everything around it, focus on what is brighter, then what I truly want to focus on will appear stronger in my peripheral vision (oh sweet subconscious of the eye!) than it would were I looking directly.
Heading further North tomorrow into Canada for a few days, the New Year, then a solo trek back home while H spends some weeks with family and friends. I'm looking to clean up a bit at this elbow of the season, pull back on the indulgences, indulge more in others. And the writing; calling, asking, singing and singing and singing. Love and joy to all of you this season and all seasons. Stay warm.