Sunday, December 29, 2019

a pretty good year

Despite the over-arching madness of would-be despots, for me 2019 was a pretty good year. The cabin sold much more quickly than expected and I had to say my goodbyes without dwelling on it, without wallowing in it. Rather, in February, I just had to figure out certain practical matters while wallowing in five feet of snow with more falling every day. The cabin was snowed in, unheated, without running water—all that had to be reversed. And then, unreversed. And I was 80-some miles away. And it snowed and snowed. And I got peeved. And it got cold. And people got stuck in the snow. And did I mention the snow? But. It all got done. Sooner than expected. And that—a very good thing.

At the new house, flowers. The first bloomed in late April, the last in late October, early November. Discovery in the gardens happened nearly every day. It provided me with work, it provided inspiration.

In March, city crews cut back snowbanks. I watched from a second floor window. The orange truck is sucking up and throwing snow into the yellow truck. Once full, the yellow truck went to a special snow-dumping spot and unloaded. Then it returned and got in line to receive more snow.

Later, that same night, tidying up.

Six weeks later.

The house got fresh paint.

The color is “Salty Dog.”

The wax book was completed.

The joy of acorn caps was discovered.

Josie took me on walks.

And Josie chased chipmunks into walls and took a flying leap to find out what was on top of this old stove-heater thing in the back yard.

Josie sticking his nose into other people’s business.

Leapin’ Jo Lizards!

Inside the old stove-heater thing was a busted and rusted old pocket watch. I found this out one day when I was in the back yard with a guy who was going to do some tree work. We got to talking about the old heater-stove thing. He opened its little door, which I had never touched, and then I reached in, grabbed on to something. It was a busted and rusted old pocket watch. It no longer had its face, so, literally, timeless.

The farmers market, which started out slow, eventually got better, and the winter market, happening in the months of November and December, was the best I’ve seen. At the last market I was asked if there were a website with pictures of my candles. At the time, there was not. Now, there is.

And then, finally, this: After nearly 24 years, I got the last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip framed. I clipped the strip from the Chicago Tribune the day it was published, on a Sunday, December 31, 1995. At some point I put it in a cheap metal frame that I had lying around, thinking I would eventually get it properly done up, but then I would always just hang it up on a wall, as it was, wherever I was, as I did here, earlier this year, but, about a month ago, I took it off the wall and brought it to a frame shop downtown. They helped me pick a color for the mat and then the frame and it was all very properly done up. Now, it’s back on the wall. Reminding me.

The last panel.

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