31 December 2019

Silence and the Sea

Year-end thoughts like hesitant lemmings on a cliff, jostling and murmuring as they decide which will be the first off the edge. The waters of the old year have ebbed. The waters of the new are surging up onto the rocks. Peace is ephemeral. Roar and hiss are constant. The desk top is slowly revealed as the clutter is cleared. Here in this room, this house, the walls  are painted with the lilac-blue of winter sundown. A shaggy terrier paces in another room. His nails click the hardwood. A cat, with colors suggestive of a creamsicle, perches on the windowsill peering into the gloaming with eyes of green and gold. I ask it what it thinks of New Years' Eve. It stares at me with tail a-twitch. There is no answer.

This all happens as I sip tea from a brand new porcelain mug. It is a gift. Creamy white surface adorned with four figures of cats rendered in deep cobalt. It is a small wonder, this mug. It combines three things of which I am quite fond: cats, tea, and the color blue. It is a calming object. Warmth. Smooth porcelain. Shaded color into which I sometimes yearn to dive. The mug and the person from whom I received it have kept me back from the edge of the cliff as I face down myriad regrets and anxieties in the run-up to midnight. It is cause for thanks.

If pride of place belonged strictly to the loudest of the voices in my head, this page would be filled with a red-hot rant of personal truths and angry upbraids of the universe, for allowing things to decay and for bad things to happen to far too many who did not deserve it. Volume too often means weight. Weight too often is mistaken for rightness. Rightness sometimes hides to escape the shouting.

I consider the voices. Tea slips down the throat. Warmth radiates from my core, on a tide of pleasant bitterness accompanied by the faint floral notes of roses and jasmine. The tea has stayed my hand. It has muzzled the loudest cries for attention. In that silence it is possible to hear the soft ones trying to capture my attention. Loudness is not king. Anger and bitterness are no true foundations upon which to continue building a house. Take comfort in ones' persistence, the pride of surviving the storms. Most importantly, in the undiscovered ocean of the coming year, do not forget to love.