Or: A Belated Year-in-Review
We’re a week into the 2012 and I’m only beginning to think about the plans for the coming year. That right there sums up the last few months pretty well. Beth’s daughter was out visiting for a few weeks, and while I’d still prefer to be company-less during the height of Yule, I’m not sure it would have mattered all that much last year. It was an oddly, deceptively difficult year. We went into it pleased with how 2010 had gone (possibly we were asking for trouble right then and there) only to discover almost immediately that we’d have to move. Moving required finding new homes for two of our beloved cats, and while ultimately it was better for them – they were two of our more, uh, well-adjusted kitties, and were both pleased as punch to be only kitties in their new homes – it was heart rending for us. There was some other less-than-lovely stuff that coincided with the tearing apart of our family that was upsetting enough to encourage me to withdraw quite a bit into myself, my family, my work, this life of semi-solitude that I so treasure. (and yet hardly upsetting at all in the face of losing part of the family). Perhaps I’m a horrible person, but discovering a week ago that the house that ‘had to go on the market right away and would be sold fast, but could you stay and rent from us until we’re ready to have you move, and never mind about saving up for your next place, we only care that you work with us, we don’t care if you wind up homeless’ is still on the market made me quite pleased. And moving has been wonderful, despite moving meaning that I wouldn’t make it back to New England to visit family there. While our location is closer to the industrial parts of town, there are some lovely green spaces, and the people here are more like what we’re used to – that is, not in your business and with a respect for personal space bubble. The dog is happier away from the “wildlife” (though we still have Bear Raccoons, and a gang of turkeys) and enjoys the busier streets. When we first moved here, he positively strutted on his walks. We have a gated yard, the freedom to garden the whole of the front lawn, and most importantly, the house is in great condition, everything works, it’s way easier to clean, and the cats like it better. Oh, right, and we’re no longer living hand to mouth to pay for our rent.
That alone made this year better, and explained our initial down time. Freedom from constant financial crisis. It’s good. It requires relaxation.
Almost immediately upon arrival, I twisted my ankle. A month of rest, an inadequate brace, and a re-injury later, I was laid up for closer to three months (and missed some work, though not as much as I likely should have) over it. Which brings us into July, which is when the dog was injured and takes care of the rest of the summer. The bright side here is he didn’t die, we fell in love with our vet, he received doctor recommended veggies and fruit and pops, we discovered how much he enjoyed being read to and started reading aloud and listening to audiobooks, and anyway, it was too hot to do much tromping around outside. Being hyper-alert to further signs of problems, including paralysis, made his official release date the start of our crashing. Emotional stress wipes me out like nothing else. And then Luna was sick. And then Sassy succumbed to kidney failure (though she lasted a month longer than we thought she would, before she told us it was time) and then? Then we were thoroughly done with the year (although her obvious continuing presence helped, when it didn’t make it harder) and it could take a long walk off a short peer as far as we were concerned. Except, then Luna was ill again. We suspect Luna will just be ill during the winter months, it’s never serious, just a perpetual cold that comes and goes. And, uh, an unseemly condition that we do not speak of.
There were other ups. Black Sheep Gathering was fun, getting to know Janice and the other folks at Eugene Textile Center rocked. Seeing Beth find people with arts and passions in common, who were secure enough in what they do to not feel threatened by someone else being interested in the same thing was pretty exciting, even for me. I’ll never be as into the spinning as she is. Starting to spin made me return to knitting and explore that, so I appreciate all fiber crafts, but I don’t want to spin, typically (though I have great affection for our two wheels). I want to knit and crochet and learn rug hooking and weaving, but not so much spin. I’m glad that she knows people who are excited about spinning, who can be excited with her, who can talk shop with her. Getting the spinning wheels were a high, even for me. (I’m tight with our Ashford Traditional, for all that I don’t spin; I was the mechanic while Beth was gaining confidence in her spinning). Working on getting The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales out (though I still need to get a Kindle version released) was pretty awesome, getting the writing blog started was nice, getting slammed with ideas for future novels, including some that are only waiting for me to sit down and write, them didn’t suck either.
Religiously, life has been quiet. Not absent, not empty, just quiet. After a few years of focusing a lot on the outward and trying to synch up to other peoples calendars (not because I was expected to, simply because having people in ones life with festivals in common when said festivals are pretty uncommon makes one want to celebrate with others, when one can) this year was largely about letting that all drop. Not solely because of people falling out of my life – Beth and I barely did any festivals together, and ours are pretty easy to synch up. In the past this might have upset me; last year was what it was, and while we weren’t exactly observant (though, we were, a little, with some festivals, and, a lot like with Samhain) this year was, for both of us, deeply significant for re-focusing on what matters the most to us: embracing our paths as we are guided to, not by other people, not even by our own egos, but rather by that deeper part of ourselves that coincides so perfectly with the path our gods want us on.
Yule was very, very low-key, here. Beth’s daughter was out, as I said above, I don’t think it would have made a difference, if she hadn’t been. Work was draining, and by the second week of December, coherent sentences were impossible. It was just as well to sit and visit and veg out in front of movies she wanted to watch and knit and sleep. I come into this year not all that upset over our lack of observations, last year, but also eager to start marking the days with honoring more gods than just our immediate family.
Beth talks in her blog about how it’s been a year of wordlessness, of silence, for her. For me, it was coming back to what I’ve always known, what I keep knowing, what I keep deciding isn’t valid: I’m a writer. Healing work is very interesting to me, and there are a ton of healing modalities out there. I do energy work, I’m a Reiki practitioner, I know how to use the runes in healing work, I know about journeying, both inward and outward, to affect healing in myself. These are interesting, these are good, these help me not be rooted just here, in this world. Writing is what heals me, stories are what touch my deepest places. Writing is what keeps the doors between all the worlds flung open so I can travel them as I can – and, that ever present fear that I have, that I’ll lose the ability to function in this world, eventually, if I don’t keep a clear eye on the boundaries of the worlds? It never exists when I’ve got my “writer/conduit” hat on. Which pretty much doesn’t ever need to come off, and hasn’t, all year.
Writing Fairy Queen and getting that out (it’s been a few years of work, there) has been great for me. It was an offering to the spirits of this place, and the spirits of this place have provided riches beyond count, and I am humbled and grateful.
And still, so happy to see 2011 go. Working today on getting my religious calendar for 2012 firmed up — the Poseidon festivals, at least, will be easy to place, thanks to having a history there, already.