In spite of early snow and torrential rain (no exaggeration), the frost on Sunday felt decisively January.
On a sunny walk, my mind buzzed with thoughts of my commonplace book idea. I’d imagined 24 small books about flowers for the beautiful glass cases at the Miller, but lately, I’ve questioned that plan.
Now I think about taller books, still about flowers, the year in flowers. Just a sampler, and, of course, Washington flowers this time. Some of the months will require revisiting past notes and blogs. And because the books’ size will better allow stems, I can begin with the branches of January.
In these early months I get to check memory against reality – and observe new things – like this beginning to bud Ribes sanguineum decorated for some unknown reason with a teeny, tiny knitted hat!
While getting out the tree decorations this year I found a note I wrote to myself: “I’m putting these decorations away on January 6, 2021, while rioters attack the U.S. Capitol. Where will we be when I unpack them?” The answer I suppose is in the midst of a barely bipartisan investigation and a lot of other woes.
The tree didn’t get decorated by our California family as hoped – colds (not Covid) felled three members, cancelling travel. In hindsight, maybe a good thing. Omicron increased its presence, an after Christmas snowfall left ice in its wake polished by a stiff north wind, and temperatures fell to a record 17° in the Pacific Northwest.
Our young friend, her parents, and her visiting university friend from England, salvaged Christmas Eve. The young people decorated the tree (revisiting a long-standing tradition from our young friend’s childhood), and it was interesting to hear the 20-somethings’ take on Covid, feeling lucky because they’d had two years of real college, and feeling sorry for younger students who began their studies on-line.
We missed the California crew, but, backsliding to FaceTime togetherness, opened Christmas presents in the morning and ate Christmas dinner with them. Which is far better than nothing.
Now it is January – and we head into our third pandemic year with mind-boggling crises around every corner – the Covid deaths that now seem unnecessary, the refusal to deal with climate change, and the threats to our democracy.
The other night we watched “Don’t Look Up!” – have you seen it? I laughed – laughed hard – the reactions to impending and certain doom so absurd. And then, of course, the truth of the whole thing hits – how precisely and accurately the movie skewers humankind’s reaction to important events like climate change – or Covid for that matter. The attempts by the heroes are familiar and heartbreaking – the responses chilling. It’s very good and very discouraging.
But it is a new year, and, as my painter friend said recently about the future: “you never know.”
So, here’s hoping for health, accomplishments in your chosen endeavors, and year-long sprinklings of unexpected joy (like revisiting images from the last 10 years – starting the sunbonnet of Lady B – who just turned 10 herself)!