And a very domestic start to the year.

Last night we spent the evening with good friends. We lit sparkler hearts and toasted with champagne as the calendar flipped. And I was introduced to a New Year’s tradition: 12 grapes. One for each month – 12 wishes for the coming year.

After enough food to tide me over the rest of the week, and enough wine to make it difficult to concentrate – what I remember – in no particular order:

  1. Ease. (Let it be, Let it be…)
  2. Health.
  3. Beauty (not my own, but seeking it in all things).
  4. Nature.
  5. Relationships.
  6. Partnership.
  7. An “ease-y” approach to work (“Work is what you do for other’s, Baby. Art is what you do for yourself.”)
  8. Art.
  9. Playfulness.
  10. Quiet attention.
  11. Stories.
  12. Acceptance.

img_20200101_110717-02561009062394214160.jpegSomeone on twitter was worried about turning 30 in 2020. And she asked what “big things” people accomplished after 30.

Over 50, my big thing is realizing that the big things don’t matter as much as I expected.

What I wish for would be a muddled venn diagram, interlocking rings, nested containers.

I am a Russian Doll. I am one big thing. Unaccomplished.

The really beautiful things in life might be discovered only when we allow our focus to drift  – from what we thought we were here for.

Improvisation is saying yes. And then looking for the openings, escapes, alternatives out of the corners of our eyes. There is so much to be said for deviating from one’s own “yes” with a “this, too”. Doing it with ease – without an awkward pinch of panic –  takes practice.

In 2020 I wish to be immersed in my own life. And have the wisdom to recognize its potential as more than a curriculum vitae: My life’s work is not my life’s art. And, well, if work is for others, it would follow it would be for others to define from their own perspectives.

I ran an art gallery for a while and found that the work I liked immediately, was the work I quickly grew bored with. It was the work that sparked ambivalence in me that would fascinate me. Unresolved experiences provide a unique kind of satisfaction. It requires participation and a kind of dialogue with the bigger world.

So today, the beginning of an arbitrarily-defined new year, a new decade, I am fine.

Mr. Rogers instructed us look for the helpers. He knew that so much of the beauty in the world goes unnoticed. It’s our work to create the story – a true story is always complex. And a true-life-affirming story is applied art.

A two-fer. A nested doll.

The immersed experience so much more than the overview.


And now a new year’s run, while the chicken cooks. It is surprisingly satisfying to begin the year with the smell of raw bell peppers. 

Tomorrow I will run on the beach. The 9th year of a personal tradition for New Year’s Day. Today I will try to tick off some of the things on my to-do list before I head back to work, and into a new year.

I write lists. And sometimes I find them lying around the house. On the backs of envelopes – which seems to be the thing we all do – or on clean sheets of paper, elaborately detailed with handmade calendars. There are ghosts of electronic lists on my google calendar and google task apps.

Sometimes it is jarring to stumble on an old list and see the number of things never ticked off, and completely forgotten. Shifting priorities that leave huge swaths of forgotten ambitions. I wonder if somewhere there is a realm of follow-through, where curtains have been hemmed, shelves rearranged, grout scrubbed, and books written. My lists are aspirational. The documentation of passing whims. Like screenshots of the possible iterations of my life – that I dropped like a high school crush when someone else showed an interest in me. It was easier: there. An “at least” guaranteed.

I am really good at living fully in the moment. It can be overrated.

At this moment, I have a half-painted hallway. I have a pile of clean laundry dumped on a chaise lounge whose cushions I have not seen in months. I have hand-drawn boxes for these things on a list on the back of an envelope: Wash the moss off the deck before I slip and break a bone. Set up the flooring in the outdoor yoga space. Write a book of haibun.

Maybe this awful memory of mine is a blessing. I forget what I have done, yes, but along with what I had planned to do. I avoid looking back to see what I have done in the past year – the past decade. I do remember thinking at the turn of last year, that I might write a memoir. I put it on a list. Then found myself wondering if I really wanted to dig there, touch that.

I have a title in mind. That’s what is on my to-do list now and maybe this time next year, I will see it and not have a clue what the words refer to. That entire perspective will slip into the other realm. That entire narrative. That entire life.

There is a radical freedom in choosing what things to follow through on.  What things to remember.

In choosing perspectives that can make sense of the series of choices we made. Make.

I would like to think that – that we have a radical freedom to decide who we really are. What we can do with what life has done with us.

But when I fall asleep at night, my heart rate doubles, and only slowly climbs down over the course of the night. There’s a memoir being written.

There is a long list of things still pending – there below the surface of waking moments.







Missing instagram.

The constrained attention of a photo-a-day habit – when it really is fine not to add an interpretation of the moment. To point – and let it be. And let the words come when they will. When in a quiet moment, the dragon decides to move through.


These days are in-between the old year and the new year – the death of last year’s foliage and the rebirth of the flowers. And since most days are white, I do think of shrouds –  in that abstract way that I can – never having touched a shroud – breathing through all this white on afternoon runs.

But some days, the sky opens like a deep blue throat, both ominous and promising.

Like a collapsed bridge to a jump-off point.

The sun turned two days ago. And isn’t this the way it always is – so ready, so over-due for something to change, only to find myself lagging behind.

The sky is a lazy white, and as bright now as it will be all of today.

There is a silent mumuration of starlings over the neighbor’s house. I’ve been wondering if the new bright red bird feeder has frightened the sparrows. I haven’t seen one in days.

The dog needs walking. And he’ll pull and pull on his harness. Like he knows where he is going.

I told E. today that I don’t want to know what the dog is thinking.
It might be a huge disappointment.

These days nothing feels as it should.

There is an off-ness in the gusts of wind, in the bad news that I read from the local paper while the dog pees on the dying bush that is his 4.30 a.m. go-to spot.

I’m going to have to find a new morning routine for the two of us.

After lunch, I walk around the rail station. Hail comes and goes. The pigeons line up in two neat rows.

Who knows why.

It’s what we do, I suppose.

From Kindergarten. Line up. Calm down. Be good.

And we keep at it. Mindlessly, when our thoughts are turned to the blind corners of depression. When things we touch wither and die.

We line up. We wait. We follow peripheral bodies. We seek comfort in the meaningless crowd.

We behave.