when from thee I am gone;
will not thy presence yield relief,
to this sad Heart of mine:
Why doth thy presence me defeat,
with excellence divine?
Especially when I reflect
on auld lang syne
Hearts beat much the same way they did in the days of poets Burns and Watson, who in the 1700s penned our midnight song to bring in a new calendar year. Hearts will continue to beat forth with regret and nostalgia (and more regret and more nostalgia), with hope and intentions (and greater hope and honorable intentions), and so on and so on. Just as fast as Christmas pulls the rug from your feet, you land on your ass December 31st. And a heartbeat away is 2011. A landmark propelling you further away from your past. Your mistakes. Your losses.
Last year we made our hair tall and checked into a hotel and cabbed to a party and danced among strangers in Seattle. This year we didn't even feign plan. I have lived a thousand theatrical celebrations. I feel my heart beat for another time and another place. To ring in another day, another year in a place I don't necessarily feel celebratory about remaining in, calls for no party dress. Only simple attire. A heavy coat.
I look out the only window. The sill, a shrine. A collection. Offerings to Ra, of whom I know too little. I drop vitamin D on my hand and lick it up. I look past the flowers of 2010, the dried remnants crumbling into the new days. The lavender bunch that felt like an apology. The twigs from the honeysuckle that smelled so much like summer. The dried Christmas flowers that were a miscarriage comfort gift. Above them sits the latest and the living. A "just because" bouquet that drinks up the water in the vase and the broken orange sunlight from the woods outside. I surround those memories with succulents because they need me the least. Aloe from John Simon's studio and the Belfast feed store. Jade because it reminds me of Eloise. A wandering jew wanders toward the sink where the woman's work is. It tangles with the dishsoap. Other treasures are there too. The bleached wishbone from the first turkey we slaughtered. I dare not wish.
I feel my heart flutter just in that way it takes your breath. I skate across the ice parking lots and the frozen mud driveway. I race the one-eyed dog around the property.
We heard mysterious snow crunch last night just outside of the porch light's illumination. The dogs went barky and we corralled them for fear of predatory cat. Listening harder with dogs safe, we decided it was not a wild creature. The sound was more human. More frightening. Roseanne flipped off the darkness and at the end of the night, I locked my deadbolt. I felt grateful for the protection of only one window. The guns nearby and my husband unafraid, I fell asleep and dreamed of what-ifs.
I wonder what's out there in the woods. What's out there in the future. I wonder what's waiting to be.