Thursday, December 31, 2009

A JANUS MOMENT…

Today, as the old year winds to a close and the new one readies itself in the wings, I sit at my study desk, among my books, sipping coffee and looking out the window at the late-afternoon yard wet with rain. A few birds and squirrels are busying themselves at the feeders and among the soggy leaves. Beyond, the river flows, smooth and unbroken, the color of green-gray slate.
Janus, the old Roman deity and keeper of gates and doorways, was usually depicted with two faces…one looking behind, the other ahead. I feel a little bit like that at this moment—remembering things which have happened these past twelve months, wondering what the upcoming twelve hold in store. My Grandaddy Williams might have said it was part of "taking stock." Only instead of checking the supply of firewood or coal, the number of hay bales in the loft, bushels of corn and oats in the bin, counting sacks of potatoes and apples, onions, carrots, parsnips, and heads of cabbage in the root cellar, or quart jars of home-canned tomatoes, green beans, peaches and pears, relish, pickles, jam and honey in the pantry, I'm taking stock in a more personal way, of me and my life—past, present, future; considering my hopes and plans and dreams, accomplishments, failures, gains, losses. Where have I been? Where am I going? Where am I at now?
All in all, 2009 was a good year—at times a very good year, with December and getting married, not to mention Christmas, being downright great. Of course my cough (all but gone, thank you) a lingering gift from November, which began as a nasty virus that rolled over me like a runaway bus, was definitely not so great. The rest of November, however, was good, as were the months which preceded.
The only real downer, back in March, was losing Frank—best friend, mentor, and beloved outdoor companion for more than thirty years. I still miss him every day…
And yet, any time you find yourself sitting at the cusp of a new year, how can you feel anything but grateful? After all, you made it one more round! There may have been rough spots—black holes, even—and you might have cried more often than you laughed; or hurt more frequently than those days when you felt comfortable and pain-free. I hope not, but the truth is, some of us suffer and struggle to survive, in all sorts of ways—mentally, physically, financially, spiritually. If you're not one, count yourself blessed.
I'm blessed, for sure. What I have far outweighs what I lack. The balance is tipped well into the positive. If my life ended today, I would have no reason to complain. God has been good to me. Life has been good.
What lies ahead? I don't know. The future is held in time's mystery. I have plans, hopes, dreams. Given time, some might come to fruition. Not all, though…never all, which is a good thing, because it leaves something for the year beyond, if there is one; and if not, well…no matter.
Looking out, I see the river is still slipping merrily along, luminescent water in endless journey that plays out regardless of whether we're here to watch or not—just like life.
I hope with all my heart that 2010 is a good year for you and those you love. I hope you find at least one or two of those dreams you hold in your heart. I hope that life is a joy, filled with wonder, rich with blessings.
HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

24 comments:

Gail said...

GRIZZ-

This is a beautiful writing - words that touch my heart, soul, spirit. Longings, blessings, desires, losses, gains, surrendering and unyielding faith. Ah, faith. You are a man of purpose and intent - founded in goodness, love, truth, reality-based, just and fair, generous and loving. I, like you, am reflecting on what was and looking to what may be. My focus word, for 2010 is "Freedom" which can be applied in so many ways. That will be my quest/focus - to explore freedom and all that it means to me and to those around me. It is a good word which, has value and cost. Much to ponder. Pondering is good.

I love you Grizz.

Happy healthy New Year
Gail
peace.....

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

The same heartfelt wishes go out to you Scribe. The new year is a convenient place to stop and assess - take stock. And while, as you say, "the future is held in time's mystery", we do need to create some direction or plan.

I have been enriched by my visits here to your river side blog, where you dispense your unique vision, viewpoint and appreciation for this planet and its creatures. I particularly appreciate your thoughtful responses to all comments made, which to me is a gesture of respect and friendship - which I believe is your intent. Now, if I could just figure out why you don't visit or comment on my blog...I might know how to entice you on over in the new year! :-)

Thank you and all the best for you and those you hold dear in 2010.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Pondering is good, indeed…in that it often leads to acting or not acting, taking in or letting go, choosing purpose rather than comfort.

"Freedom" is good, too.

Thank you, always, for your assessment of a man I'm surely not, but always try to be.

May the New Year bring you not all that you desire, but all that you need, including peace, joy…and always love, which is the greatest gift.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Yes, plans and hopes and dreams give us direction; life may change that in an unexpected moment, but we do need to keep on the move. Everything in the universe moves…

I'm so very glad you visit here regularly. I appreciate your comments. And yes, I reply to comments because I respect any reader who takes the time to write. And while I know blog "friendships" are considered ephemeral, perhaps nothing more than digital chimeras…I try and be genuine, the real me, the same online as I am in my own cottage or sitting on the riverbank.

As to wondering why I seldom stop by your blog…the fault is entirely mine. I haven't made a single resolution for 2010, but I intend to try and expand my blog visits. Not just from a need of showing good neighborly manners, but because I truly enjoy stopping by friends' homes and saying a few words—and that's exactly how I see blogs, like little extensions of someone's home and personality. So, forget the enticing—you have my permission to nag if I don't make it over regularly enough. Gail (Know Your It's) will tell you, I'm like herding cats—it can be done, but it takes patience and nagging because I just get to doing stuff and forget. Blame it on impending geezerhood or pure laziness—I don't mean to, but I do. So…nag if necessary. And I'll try to avoid same by visiting on my own. Okay?

Now…HAPPY NEW YEAR! (No, you can't nag until 2010.)

Penny said...

Thank you for putting into words so well what I feel but couldnt come up with. May your year be very happy and many of the things you want to do, would like to do, come to pass.

Tramp said...

I have only recently found your site but I would like to share a thought with you and your readers.
When you write about looking backwards and forwards in life I recall the time I was on a long journey by ship. I spent a lot of time either at the front or the rear end of the ship (the pointed and blunt ends, I am not of a nautical bent). While contemplating I found comparisons to looking at life. I felt more comfortable and secure at the back of the ship looking back. It was here that the gash from the galley was thrown away...
Good luck for 2010. I will be a regular visitor.

The Solitary Walker said...

A really inspiring post, my friend. I truly enjoyed reading your blog last year - and look forward to many more stolen moments on the riverbank. Happy New Year!

Jayne said...

What beautiful wishes my friend. I feel the same way. If I go today, I go in peace knowing it's just my time. I will not make resolutions but rather will hope that I am content to know I am where I am supposed to be and that my paths will be illuminated to reveal new things to be inspired by and to revel in as I continue to focus on living in the moment. Happy New Year to you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Penny…

Thank you for your nice words. And than you for reading Riverdaze and commenting…and do I hope you always find your visits here worth worthwhile and enjoyable.

Happy 2010!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Good first morning of 2010 Scribe: Like Janus, today I am viewing my comment of yesterday from another perspective and wishing I had not made it (the comment about enticing you to my blog).

PLEASE do not feel pressured to have to visit. I do have a mature side to my personality that does not take things personally and appreciates what is. You give so much of yourself here in your comments, I will gladly be satisfied with that.

So I will not pressure, entice, or nag.... In fact, I will not give it another thought. Please do EXACTLY what you have the time and/or inclination to do, and not one iota more. So could we both pretend that I was not a little ingrate and never made that whiney, self-serving remark? Thanks.

:)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

First, I'm very glad you found your way to the riverbank. I hope you know you're always welcome—and need no further invitation to comment at will.

Second, I suppose we all feel more comfortable looking off the "the back of the ship." We've been there, faced whatever got thrown our way…and made it through. The mystery has been removed. To the rear there's only information, while to the front there's adventure, the twist and turns and questions of the unknown.

The older we get, the more we come to fear that path because we realize the possibility for disaster—pain and loss, failure, and worse. Our final hurrah lies out there to the front, ahead, somewhere along that untraveled path. Today? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? Decades down the trail? We don't know—we just know it is there, somewhere, in our future. Scary thoughts. Add to it that no one we know or love is immune, regardless of their age. The shadow waits for all.

The danger lies in the fact that even if we choose to fix our gaze rearwards, we're still moving forwards. Like it or not, the world turns and life goes on.

I have regrets aplenty in my life, many things I wish I could change. But I can't. Life doesn't allow many "do overs." But I've tried to learn from those days and times in the past. And I must say, I've always—since I was a little boy—lived my life with a sense of and a desire for adventure. Tomorrow is the greatest adventure of all. Near the top of this blog there's a quote from Proverbs which says, "…thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." I believe that unknown day has the potential of being the most wonderful, exciting, adventurous day of my life. That's why I drag myself out of bed every morning—to see what gift, what blessing, what wonder awaits…

Wanda said...

Thoughts of "Time" feel my mind this morning...and what I should do with mine.

Have a great year in 2010!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

I'm so blessed to have you as a reader and friend. I hope that whenever you come to visit, amid the sound of purling water and the white-robed sycamores which lean thoughtfully along the banks, you always find solace and the companionship of a kindred spirit.

May peace and joy and wisdom fill your days ahead. Happy 2010.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Nope, no resolutions for me. If I make 'em, I break 'em. You have the right idea…look ahead, live now.

Unlike some many folks, I've never known "where" and "what" I was supposed to be. I don't doubt a master plan…just have never figured it out yet. Surely I'm suited for something. But—maybe not. And until that enlightenment comes, I'll just try and be the best me I can, quirks and shortcomings notwithstanding. And I intend to have as much fun as possible, to love and laugh and enjoy every single day.

Happy 2010!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

I can answer that one for you, easy. Fill that time with life…with love and joy, kindness, sharing, truth, finding beauty and wonder and reason in each and every moment. You don't need to change a thing—just be yourself. You have a lovely spirit. Keep on keeping on.

Happy New Year!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Don't you dare regret your comments of yesterday! They were right on and spoken between friends. Okay? Just the reminder and nudge I needed to change a few patterns. I'm looking forward to visiting already—and looking forward to your nagging if I don't make it regular.

I took what you said as simply a perfectly charming invitation to visit.

Don't second-guess your instincts! You were right on.

KGMom said...

Happiest of new years to you, Scribe. You are, in many ways, at a new beginning. Just getting over a nasty cold is enough to give one a new lease on life...add to it a bride, and, well--enough said.

I find myself almost fearful to revel in the good fortune of the year gone by. I ascribe a bit too much to the medieval concept of the wheel of fortune--raising up today, and casting down tomorrow. (Think Carmina Burana's wonderful opening chorus--Oh Fortuna!).

I am content to live each day--and with retirement, it really is a new vista opening each day. When one works full time, the demands of the job set the daily pattern. With retirement, there is no such demand, so each step is newly trod. I just hope for a pleasant enough adventure on this part of the journey.

My project for the new year? A commissioned article on my parents' lives. Ah--should take me near 12 months.

Gail said...

Hi Grtizz-

and so the Blue Moon faded into dawn and the first day of this decade begins. Wow. I have been reading all the comments here - there is such a wealth of wisdom and hope. YOU are SO wise and so gifted in expression of life in it's simplest, wondrous, magical form. I really love how you "See" things.

Love you
Gail
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

It is, I suppose, a new beginning this first day of the new year, though an arbitrary one from a natural standpoint; by rights, the year ought to begin either on a solstice or equinox. Yet I never feel all that "new." I look in the mirror and it's the same old me.

There's a road not far from here that runs downtown. For the first third of my life, it had only one name. Now, in the space of twenty miles—and all in the same city—it has seven names, two of which are different names for the same portion of roadway (divided), depending on whether it's heading north or south. If you extend the count another five miles to the north, you can increase the number of names to thirteen! Same road! And except for that divided mile-long portion, you'd never know when the names changed. Worse, there are two "South" designations and three "North" ones; north of town, you can pass from a North to South to North designation in the space of just over a mile; on the south side of town, as you drive south, you first drive along a portion designated South, and if you keep going south about a mile, you'll be on a portion designated North.

Trying to explain this confusion to a visitor looking for an address is impossible.

My point, or parallel, is that New Year's Day feels, to me, like driving along this road…the name may change, but the road is the same. (Except I invariably write the wrong year on things for a couple of months.)

I don't put much stock in cosmic paybacks or balances. Just as I never heed the old saying that "no good deed goes unpunished." You might point to examples for proof of their workings—but if it's a truth, it's a truth I refuse to believe. I'm not going to live my life hesitating to do good, to be helpful, to keep the Golden Rule. Neither am I going to rob some of the joy from a blessing by worrying about what bad thing awaits to compensate

Good stuff and bad stuff happens to all of us. You can't have peaks without valleys.

You'll enjoy retirement if you continue to work. (Huh?) I mean, do what you like to do, which, among other things, is write. Poetry. That family history. Whatever. You don't retire from life, just the drudgery portions, including the schedules. You no longer have to rush. If you want to spend 2 months researching something, do it! Work, but delight in your work. And enjoy life. Make this new year "your" new year.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I don't know if I'm wise…"glib fool" might be closer to reality sometimes. Though maybe they're one and the same. I sure don't have life figured out, though I'm starting to understand the questions.

But here's what I do know, emphatically—life is not nearly as complicated as we make it; we're the complication. Pogo had it right: "We have met the enemy and they is us…."

Stay warm.

Robin said...

Thank you Griz... and the same to you.

I'm so glad I found this place.

Beautiful picture.

Thank you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Robin…

I'm glad you found this place, too.

Thank you!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I like the feeling a new year brings with it. A clean slate; a whole year to meet goals, instead of an end of a year being disappointed in oneself.

Visiting your blog always feels like a mini-vacation and I thought of you often on my holiday in Oregon-on the Rogue River, watching the birds (a bald eagle even) and a more quiet, peaceful time.

I so enjoy your writings and photos, and am glad I found your blog and know where to come for respite...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Teri…

What a lovely compliment. Thank you so very much—I really do appreciate your nice words.

More than anything, I'm so glad you've found this site if, and that visiting gives you something back, uplifts your spirit, offers respite and pleasure. That's why I write, to share and create a sort of cozy little riverbank corner where folks can come and spend a few minutes—and maybe when they leave, go away feeling better.

I've read about the Rogue River all my life—it's a good steelhead river, and I'm a fisherman :-)—and you did right to think of me there during your holiday, as some part of me has always wanted to see those moving waters. I'd have liked that eagle, too.

I hope you have started your year well. Let the past be the past. I could fill my days with regrets and guilt and failure if I allowed it to happen, as I'm so far, far away from being the man and person I want to be. But I know the only thing I can do is move on, learn what I can from my mistakes, and try and do better. None of us are perfect. I just try to stand before the mirror and look myself in the eye and say—depending on whether it's morning or evening—well, you have a whole day ahead, try not to mess it up…or, well, you did your best, but there were things you could have done better on, so remember tomorrow.