it is the day after the day after christmas and i awake wanting life in pinks and oranges, wanting life softer than it has been, wanting valentine hearts hanging from the ceiling on ribbons, wanting open windows and whimsy and a warm wind blowing across my face, a cool breeze come summertime. 2010 is leaving and i feel sadness at its passing, this year that took maggie with it; i look back and see patterns in photographs and words, indeed i saw them emerge as the year progressed, patterns of lace and shadows, of things not quite hidden, of things not quite clear, not quite so sure. pictures of maybe. words fell around me and i let them lay, walked barefoot across their sounds, felt their tickles and kisses; there were days i lay next to them and found my name spelled with diamonds in my dreams, and there were nights they held nothing but dust. they were words of colors ~ clementine, tangerine, peppermint ~ and i saw them everywhere. this morning the words are pink tinsel and sour cherries, and they are more than the lingering taste in my mouth or the view from my couch; they are words that shimmer, words that quiver with joy and celebration, however small the confetti that is thrown may be.
these images and words have appeared on their own, pieces of magic slipping in through open windows and the broken places in my heart, and i have watched them in silence, have let them stay, have bid them welcome. i have painted walls the color of butter and discovered a place of magic under the emma tree, a place for small photographs of imperfection. it is a new place on my map, and i am still the navigator of my life.
and it leads me to my word for 2011.
in 2009 i chose a verb - unfurl - and unfurl i did. the ribbon that wound me so tightly at last began to loosen and i unfurled my way across the months, across the death of a dear friend, across the terminal diagnosis of maggie the cat, and it was the unfurling that saved me. i watched myself stop trying so hard, though i still clung too tightly to rules and worries and feelings that i should be more like everyone else. the unfurling continues, the ribbon is still with me, but it is beautifully ragged and torn and it flutters in the wind. almost free.
last year, another verb found me. navigate. to find my way further into my own life, to understand where i stood, even though a storm may have tossed me there. i plotted my own course, and began my own map, and that map is with me still. always. it is full of unexpected places and it is stained with tears; trees have fallen across my road and i have had to climb them to keep going, there have been floods and friends left behind and a cat with me now only in my heart. the road continues and i am stronger, but i have softened as i walked unknown places, and that softening leads me to 2011. softening has been the sky under which all those patterns i spoke of earlier bloomed.
and so, soften it is. this word found me months ago, and allowed me to cry. it allowed me to play. it pushed back at the perfectionism i struggle with daily. it showed me things i might have missed a few years ago. it put a cellphone camera in my hand and said forget about f-stops for a while. go. play. see. the image above is the shadow of 2 parking meters, quickly shot from a moving car - not a cell phone image, but i have learned to just shoot - mid afternoon, overexposed. i saw the heart and had a second.
softening will include many things. it will include color and play and out of focus, it will include silliness and hurt and opening my heart and pain. i expect there to be blisters.
i will take it all.