Happy collection of days we shall heretofore call 2017. What will it be like? How will we cope? How will we fair?
This is the year my passport expires. The year I will finally get a New York driver's license. The year I'll fill my savings and retirement accounts and finally ground myself in this slippery city. This will be the year that Shipwreck attends its first CRAFT SHOW! This is the first full year my family will experience without my father. This year I will seriously cash in on some of my frequent flyer miles (Philly, Louisiana, Texas, Iceland, Japan[?]). I have ambition in the more general swaths of life, too. This is going to be my year, if I have to take it by force and bend it to my will. I will no longer wait for the right time and fairest conditions. I'm going to ask for what I want. I'm going to stand up for myself and what I need.
Last week we finally put my father's ashes to rest in Arlington Cemetery. The Canada geese flocked overhead in the crisp light snow of early January. And while I watched the ensigns pull and tuck and fold my father's flag, the rolling clatter of a 21 gun salute acted as the closing bell for this difficult and long chapter of mourning and closeness with my family and my sense of place within it. If I expected to feel lighter or inspired to carpe some damn diem, I was disappointed. I do not feel I have put a single thing behind me, except as a pack dog with its sled.
Instead what I seem to have come away with is the sense that the poetry of life is wholly man-made. That the beauty of the powdered snow and ironic juxtaposition of the horses urinating during the rigid and practiced maneuvers of the midshipmen gathered that day are not objectively anything. That the group of family, friends, fellow classmates, can work to make up the meaning if any can be parceled out. And that meaning and poetry and faithfulness can be stacked like the frame of a house. Through will and the laying of hands. That if you want to forge a path forward from your father's resting place, you will have to clear your own brambles, listen for bears, check yourself for ticks. That you have to put one foot in front of the other and trust your legs to take you there, wherever.
And so that is my goal for 2017. To keep forging on. To try and take care of my back and my body. To try and make as much art as I can. To try and love and appreciate my friends and family more than ever, and forgive myself when I fall short. To remember to occasionally explore this city that I love and unlock more secrets from its vaulted history. To take time for myself, to breathe, to read, to get a massage. To have tea with my friends and cheer them on. To help--in whatever way I can--everyone I love to have a life where they believe that things are possible, and that they can achieve what they want and that we can find meaning in it together.
Everything I know now, I knew before. But I move to the march of my beating heart in hopes that it will sound off mighty and echo long. I am set in my shoes and ready for many miles more.
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