Hail and Good Riddance

For three weeks I watched my landlord’s son clear the driveway repeatedly of several feet of snow and ice. I huddled in my apartment while the power was off-and-on and the skies wept in dark despair.

This week the sun came out and it all turned to warm ugly mud in a mood swing that native New Englanders take for granted.

Yesterday I tromped disgustedly out to my car in my highest boots and nearly tripped over a clump of earth and roots nestled in the mud. I recognized it as the remains of a shrivelled indoor plant that I had tossed outside when I gave up on saving it. Apparently the plow had caught it and threw it into the path of my car. I almost walked by the dreary little pile when I saw a bright green spark. It was one tiny stalwart sprout with a single leaf, sitting in that sea of tired brown. I gently scooped it up, carried it with its root back inside and set it in a jar of water in the window where it could bask in the warm sun and the hopes I have for 2023.

I don’t think I’ve spoken to anyone who doesn’t consider 2022 well-gone and good riddance. Whether it’s politics or Covid or something else, we’ve all been knocked silly by rising prices, slip-slidding work and school places, news of war and intolerance, the grief of losing a loved one. Making it worse were the fearful constrictions of all our usual methods of coping and keeping our sanity – sports, theater, shopping or just raising a noisy glass with friends.

I’ve been lucky in being a writer. I’m used to cocooning and begging to be left alone while I work at my computer at home. Yet even writers (who are natural introverts) have felt it — a serious cataclysm in the space-time continuum. I’ve watched my friends and my family valiantly battle the despair that comes from that feeling of never being in control of the events of their lives. Over the last twelve months, they have found ways to compensate, ways to deal with those who can’t deal with it, ways to change how things are done — and ways to accept what I suspect will be the new norm for some time to come.

I hope, like the little seed that pushes up through the mud and reaches for the sky, we all find a new direction and a new steadier life. My best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

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