Do any of you feel that it's more of a New Years Day when you step back into school for the first time after the summer rather than when you count down to midnight on December 31st? I've always had a pesky habit of referring to the school year rather than the official, numbered, 2000-something, when I refer to a year.
And once this illegitimate "year" is complete, the first day of school of whichever new, intimidating grade I'm going into becomes a day to reflect on the past year and compile it into a neat collage of events, occurances, changes.. so to attain a general, over-all feeling of the entire year; in my head rather than in a literal sense though. It's just something I've always done.
So even though there's around a week left of summer, I'm beginning to get a clear visualization of that "collage" already, and being the artist that I am, I tend to translate this collage and it's general feel of the year into, what else but, metaphors and similes. It's like painting with words. Who knows what's compelling me to write this down, but..
I found this year to be....like a faded picture, where all of the blacks have turned to the brown of a coffee stain, and the whites have all discolored into eggshell. or maybe..a photo that was taken at too low of a shudder speed so that everything aquires a dingy, ominously antiquated, over-cast look to it. Even if you take a shot of pure, white snow, the photo would always have a melancholy demeanor to it, highlighting the grey skies and the forlorn hollowness that comes with winter, rather than the glistening, newly fallen snow, the rigid silhouette of bare tree branches contrasting against the sky.
There's a heartiness and warmth about winter that this year has forgotten, the serenity that comes with walking down a street in the middle of the night in complete silence, with a red-tipped nose and full appreciation for the purple, star-lit sky overhead; or listening to the wind howl as you intertwine into the nest of blankets you've made for yourself after taking a warm bath.
This year was not the beauty of the branches contrasting with the sky, but rather the bare, dead branches themselves. Exposed to the elements, naked and vulnerable to winter's deathly grip.
This year did not pay attention to the beauty of the changing seasons, it did not enjoy the soothing aromas of a Thanksgiving evening in a warm kitchen, the bizarreness of Hallowe'en night, the peacefulness of Christmas eve accompanied by 40's music, sweet tea and a warm shoulder. I could go into full detail about why this is, but I won't for I want to keep this little article I've spewed up out of my head while caught in a sleep-deprived malaise simple and abstract.
I catch a lot of greys and dull blues from this year, taken from the over-cast sky of the never-ending winter that seems to overwhelm my cranial time-line. There are the purples and oranges of a few hazy, rosy sunsets too, of course plagued with the ever-present dismal ink-wash that this year became drenched in.
Low, beating baselines from songs whose melodies still reverberate blurrily in my memory, crisp air pouring in through my open windows, the clicks and clacks of my leather boots, that would grow increasingly uneven as time went on, as I danced the wooden heels down to the soles during times when I found a way to strip the cloudy screen from my life every once and a while; A gap in space and time that made room for a wonderful escape to cobble stone streets and foreign languages, that would later be glorified into my alternate universe.
The tail-end of this year, a summer that seemed to lose itself and dissipate into meager, scattered pieces of unidentifiable time, apathetically trying to sew it's loose edges together, and when it would fail, retreat back into forests and rivers, ponds and creeks, the sun, the trees, the sheen of a resting duck's feathers caught in peachy sunset light, the kind that makes everyone's eyes glow warm with amber and affection, and a park bench under the name of one Winifred Emm, who I'm told loved all things, big and small. A companion to watch the sunsets with, who had long ago passed away, born at the height of the Great Depression.
A start of a new year lays alarmingly close ahead, and whether we're ready for it or not does not concern Time, as he ignores our fruitless backward tugging and solemnly walks forward, arriving at every season, every holiday, annually, perpetually as he always has and always will.