The Christmas tree is still up, minus its decorations. If I tilt my head the wrong way, I can see a thin film of dust that’s taken up residence on my navy blue dresser. The last three days of the advent calendar never came down (the fact that festivities were enjoyed notwithstanding) but the sprig of greenery I tied up there with them has taken to dismantling itself, shedding a needle or five from its brittle stem daily. There’s a bowl on the counter with a few withered clementines, unable to tempt even the most willing snacker and a bag of laundry is waiting by the door—sheets mostly, freshly laundered but newly soiled by a small person who can’t always manage to rouse himself in the night for a trip to the bathroom. The small person? Sleeping. Snoring softly alongside his dad, both of them giving themselves over to the extra rest they need to shake the last of a Christmas cold that’s delivered more than its expected wallop.
My calendar hasn’t yet been filled to brimming with hopes and aspirations, but yesterday I made a pot full of black-eyed peas, rendered delicious with a charred onion and cloves and a bit of heat. (All thanks to the genius of Mashama Bailey.) Collard greens got a treatment of honey and smoked paprika and a splash of apple cider vinegar. I’m borrowing all the good luck charms I can find, in other words.
Eventually the dresser will get a wipe with a damp rag. The tree will be walked a few blocks to the park to get turned into mulch. The last of the pine needles will be plucked by hand from the rug. The advent calendar will get tucked neatly away for next year.
I’ll open my project book with a crack of the spine. I’ll pledge to do some things differently and strive to do other things exactly the same, cementing traditions and good habits and chiseling away at the stuff that needs breaking. Sculpting? I’ll embrace artistry in the New Year.
I’ll write a list of books I want to read. Maybe I’ll think some more about a book I’d like to write. I’ll pledge to visit a museum exhibit a month, no less. I’ll swear by color and sunshine and Vitamin D and promise to get myself through another winter without too much suffering. I’ll remember the spring bulbs I planted with Faye. I’ll water my new fern every morning. I’ll be better at saving pennies for taxes. (I’ll try to save some other pennies for travel.)
I’ll resolve not to sit at my desk all day. I’ll take myself for long, solo walks.
I’ll forgive myself for breaking my resolutions.
Here’s to a new year, whenever it gets here.