In the middle of the night, Anu and I went out into the woods. The combination of light from the city and the snow created a glow that seemed to radiate somewhere from within the forest. I kid you not, I stepped out my (front) door and into the world of Narnia. Once we were deep enough into the woods I let Anu off of her leash to run while I simply sat in a heap of snow and tried to drink it all in. When we first left the house I was slightly disgruntled that no one else was adventurous enough to join me. But once we got out there I couldn't help but be glad we were alone--just Anu and I.
There was a part of me that was nervous about being in the middle of the woods alone at night (we live in the city, after all). But there was a bigger part of me that felt like the luckiest person in the entire world. I'm really not sure if I have ever experienced such a beautiful winter night. Maybe. But I doubt it. The trees were heavy with snow from top to bottom. We had the woods to ourselves except for the deer and fox who make their homes there. I found myself wishing I had a way to communicate what I was seeing. But, really, it was just too incredible to describe.
It's been a peaceful day. My mom headed back home after lunch and, since then, I've just been enjoying the natural pace of the day. The whole world feels a little bit happier today. Or is it just me? I don't know...but I'm beginning to believe deeply in the ripple effect of our moods. Today my neighborhood is happy (or seems to be). When we see each other we exchange waves and hellos and even a few hugs. Today is a day for new beginnings and the trickle effect it is having feels good.
I think I was starting to feel like this place was never going to "fit" quite right. I don't know why, exactly; that's just the way I've felt. But over time we've started to grow closer to our neighbors; the waiters at our favorite restaurant and neighborhood coffee shop recognize us and are glad to see us; I met a really incredible fellow artist yesterday (we recognized each other from running into each other somewhere else); I'm beginning to learn my way around; and in this big, big city it is starting to be the sort of place that when I go places, I see people I know--people from the bookstore or the garden shop or my neighborhood or (like yesterday) just someone I randomly met somewhere else...and, well, it feels good. I like being able to be anonymous once in awhile...but I also like feeling like I belong to something, too. Slowly, slowly I'm beginning to find a balance here.
Last night, while my mom sat on the couch writing a letter to a friend and V. did whatever he does on his computer, I sat down in my chair with a cup of tea and made my yearly list of accomplishments for 2006. It's been another big year of change in my life and, although the list was not necessarily as exciting as the lists I've made in past, I decided that I am happy with the progressions my life has made. It has been an interesting year, full of new heartaches and stress and happiness. It has been a full year--one that has provided me a lot of room for GROWTH. And yeah...I guess with growth comes growing pains.
In some ways I've been struggling with the idea that I am not moving ahead far enough or fast enough. But the truth is that this is exactly where I need to be right now. This is it. Right here, right now. I have beat myself up more than a few times for only working in a bookstore and only working in a garden shop. I feel like I am meant for something more, something else. But the thing is that before I got either of these jobs I decided that I needed to slow my life down enough to heal the things inside of me that needed healing. I needed a break from life as I knew it--and I've gotten it. For that, I am thankful.
About 10 years ago I decided that I wouldn't make New Year's resolutions anymore. I felt like they did little more than make me feel bad about myself. That was the year that I started making a list of accomplishments instead. I've carried on the tradition ever since. But, last night, when I was walking out in the woods, I decided that this year I want make a list of intentions to accompany the experiences of this past year. As I was walking there was one thing that came to me, strong and clear:
This year I want to allow magic back into my life.
There was a lot more that went along with this thought but, for now, that is the most I am able to share. With too much school, magic somehow got buried under too much critical and cynical thinking. Actually, I buried a lot of important parts of myself. I used to believe in a lot of things. After awhile I began to notice that I didn't really believe in much of anything anymore. Maybe it wasn't just school or the people that I was in contact with on a daily basis that made me feel that way. It might have been a combination of a lot of things that simply caused too much stress in my life. My spirit just sort of shut down for awhile. But, these days, I feel myself reawakening. It's a process, but there is a part of me that is opening back up--like a door in my heart; I feel it opening.
And so this year I dedicate to Magic. In all its forms.
...because I can feel it--this year is going to be unlike any other.