Well, Happy New Year! In 2012, I rang in January 1st surrounded by friends old and new in Seattle. My mantra for the year was to “dwell in Possibility.” That was certainly the case! I did much galavanting outdoors and spread my wings anew this year.
January 1st of this year was much less eventful, as I almost fell over from tiredness after flying across the country and spending my waking hours in airports the day before. But I have always found the beginning of a new year, well new beginnings in general, to be a time of reflection. A time to reassess. Take stock. Turn inwards. Make plans. Do a lot of writing. Talking to good friends about what we’re looking forward to.
The week before Christmas, I spent the weekdays in Seattle walking about in the cold and rain, taking the bus for up to an hour at a time, warming up by space heaters, running on the Burke Gilman Trail, and participating in countless of wonderful, life giving conversations, usually accompanied by food. I entered the holiday season filled with gratitude, purpose, focus, and many words floating around in my mind. Some I put to paper, others floated away as words tend to do. And I intend to share some of them with you now. Thank you, Seattle, and Welcome 2013. You will be good.
Whenever I’ve been confronted with the Puget Sound, I’ve been astounded by its vastness, its wildness, its depth. Granted, the Sound in Seattle is part of the Pacific Ocean, which is quite the large body of water. But the ocean feels so far away in an inland city and the Sound, an always surprisingly large body of water, so close. Accordingly, Seattle has always seemed large to me as well- its sprawling neighborhoods, its traffic jams, and its highways, viaducts, and bridges bisecting and connecting disparate pieces of land countless miles away.
Today at Lincoln Park, my Seattle world contracts and I feel alone walking on the trails. The bustling streets filled with commuters are far away and the wind is music, its rushing and blowing reminiscent of a drum roll, announcing a queen or the beginning of a symphony. What does this wind announce? Rain, snow, more of this unexpected sun? At the park, the cold breaths of air flutter the blades of green grass and ripple the vast sheet of water that is the Sound into a choppy mass. I’m blocked by a screen of Douglas Firs, so my hair only stirs occasionally from my shoulders, jumping into an attentive dance about my face.
Far to the West is forested land, rising up from the great water, lit by the Southern sun. Small, white houses line the shore. Who lives there? Who is now currently going through the motions of their life soothed by the sound of lapping sea water and the melody of the winter wind? Do they listen to soaring strings music to celebrate the profit of a business, do they contemplate a lady accompanied by the crooning voice of Billy Holiday, or do they mourn a loved one with the soundtrack of an Irish whistle sorrowfully playing in the background? What music marks their life’s landmarks? From so far away, though I do have a good vantage point on this high bluff trail, it’s hard to tell.
Behind me, park goers walk their dogs in the company of the trees. The dogs stop to sniff and we, too, stick our noses in the air to pick up the smell of change. Our lives are marked by continual transformation, never static. Max Dupree, an unknown quotesman says, “We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.” So, we skip, jump, dance, sing, eat, and drink, never stopping in our constant flux. Even in our sleep we are in flux as we toss and turn and our dreams take us on adventures we could never accomplish in our waking hours. We read in hopes that someone else can give us advice. We write to give ourselves advice. And meanwhile, as the sun and rain greet us with their presence, we sometimes stop in our tracks, looking back on all these changes. In hopes of becoming what we need, we turn somersaults that make us dizzy and try not to fall over in the process.