Sunday, December 31, 2017

Letter to the Last Day of the Year

Well, hello last day of the year. Here I am, awake yet again for another spin of the earth. How shall we spend the day together? (And when did people begin talking about “spending” days as if they were so many coins to be spent wisely, knowing that our allowance wouldn’t be renewed?)

As you know, I have my routines. Water boiling first to cover the ½ cup of oatmeal and while it cooks covered in its flowered bowl, I sit cross-legged and try to breath myself into your welcome arms. Light the incense, ride in on the sound waves of ancient Buddhist chants, three bows at the end, step out onto the deck and greet the trees in my yard, inhale the fresh air. Short little back exercises on the floor and ready for the oatmeal, orange juice and three games of Solitaire. Shower and shave and dress and probably open the laptop to look at the day’s list (again, numbers and things to be done) as suggested by e-mails.

It’s Sunday, so my wife will go off to our 20 plus year biking routine with friends and when the clock reaches 10, per the agreement with my upstairs neighbors, the piano keys are open for me to traverse, down the pathways of Bach, Monk, Ravel, Joplin, Chopin, Cole Porter, take your pick. Perhaps a short bike ride to the local Farmer’s Market, though pickings are slim these days, perhaps continue to Ambassador Toys to return the bop-clown that didn’t work, a stop in the old Park-and-Shop turned Andronico’s turned Safeway Community Market for Adelle’s sausages and dry black beans and poblano peppers for a ritual Brazilian black-bean soup. And then the weekly Trader Joe’s shopping.

That leaves the afternoon and if I have any good sense, I’ll bike or walk out into your welcoming arms and notice all the gifts you perpetually offer which I often don’t notice. Take a moment to sit on a bench or better yet, the ground leaning against a tree and see what I see, hear what I see, smell what I smell, the ancient art of simply paying attention. And then retreat into a book or write in my journal or get the heart pumping and muscles working biking up San Francisco hills.

Are you still with me, day? Now the sun is setting and the soup is cooking and after dinner, the new annual ritual of going to hear the hilarious genius of Paula Poundstone, topped off with another ritual party at my ex-school head’s house that culminates in taking to the streets and ringing his family’s collection of Tibetan bells as the clock strikes midnight.

Of course, there was the time writing this blog, closing out 7 years of marking in print the joys and sorrows of some 2,555 days in some 1900 posts, to be shared with a public who might or might not find something affirming, thought-provoking, funny, poignant, boring or parallel to their own experiences.

So day, what do you think? Shall we do this? Let’s go!

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