Sunday, December 31, 2017
Composite photograph of the solar eclipse of 21 August 2017 as it progressed from partial to total... one of the highlights of the year just past.
Today is the last day of 2017.
Today is also the forty-second anniversary of my meeting Dee for the first time, a story I still don’t tire of telling. (By now, however, Dee may very well be tired of hearing me tell it.)
There have been Goings On a-plenty in the wider world, but I shall leave it to those who are more expert and better remunerated to tell of all of the tragedies, horrors, and joys of life in the public sphere. Mass shootings, police brutality, public demonstrations, narrischkeit on the part of elected officials: This crap has become a feature of our collective lives in ever newer and more exciting ways in 2017. Natural disasters, of course, happen all the time, yet I am constantly amazed at the way we create our own.
Nevertheless, there have been moments of transcendent joy.
I will never forget the sense of anticipation with which we greeted one of the rarest and most beautiful astronomical phenomena this past August - the total solar eclipse that a small group of us witnessed from Eric’s front lawn. Being able to experience it was the fulfillment of a decades-long desire.
This was the year I learned that wanting to do something was not the same as being able to do something... a lesson brought home to us after several weeks of painful, sweaty labor resurfacing our deck resulted in a not-especially-pretty start, along with a broken thumb for Dee. I am reminded of an old poem by Hilaire Belloc:
Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.
We’ve learned, at considerable pain and expense, to give employment to the artisan. But for all that, we now have a nice newly bedecked deck as well as freshly painted rooms throughout our house.
Ah, the house. We’ve lived in it for nigh unto two decades, and it’s looking like time for a change. Chez Elisson is all clean and decluttered (relatively speaking) now, the better for potential suitors to fall in love with it. As for us, we hope to relocate to something a bit more cozy, yet not too far away. Having a master bedroom at ground level would be a helpful change: We have learned that there are some living space features that can become very important very quickly, most often without any warning. Thus, preemptive action is the order of the day.
Elder Daughter continues to perform and to devise theatrical work in numerous venues, most commonly her home base of Philadelphia. The Mistress of Sarcasm, meanwhile, remains in Kingston, NY, where she and her boyfriend have - in addition to working on their usual individual artistic endeavors and the refurbishment of their building - opened an Airbnb. This could be considered a logical extension of her previous work in the hospitality industry.
Edith and Stella are (keyn ayin hora) still doing well, alternating between periods of mutual peevishness and slowly budding friendship. They provide huge amounts of amusement, deposit generous quantities of Cat-Dookie in the litter box, and yank hair-floofs off each other as they engage in their games of Snarl ’n’ Chase.
Some time ago, I realized that I have been writing online over thirteen years, having started my bloggy adventures over at the Old Place in July of 2004. That’s old enough to be a Bar Mitzvah, but I’m not sure what that status means as applied to an Online Journal. Does it mean I’ve got to act like a grownup? Fuck that. Nobody reads blogs anymore anyway. That’s a shame, because that is where you used to meet new people strictly by the strength of your ideas... or, failing that, by how you expressed yourself. You didn’t have the self-selected audience of Farcebook - you were, so to speak, on your own.
Alas, Farcebook ate most of the blogs, and Twitter nibbled the crumbs... but I don’t care. I may not write much over here, but I still tack up a post every so often to keep the place alive. It also helps me clear the ever-accumulating pile of Brain-Shit out of my noggin. So there’s that. Somebody has to write sonnets about unspeakable bodily functions; it may as well be me.
For Dee and me, 2017 ended on a thoroughly delightful note: a week-long (plus) visit from both Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm, together here with us for the first time in probably four years. We had expected the former to show up late last Saturday night, and so she did - but what we had not expected was that she had the latter in tow. Shrieks of joy abounded.
Life is inevitably imperfect, but it’s the tough spots that allow us to appreciate the tender. May your 2018 bring those tough spots in minimal amounts while providing tenderness and joy in their fullest measure... along with health, happiness, and fulfillment, without limit to any good thing.