• R. Gurley

A New Year Taking Root

The Christmas holiday has ended. I am back in the desert waiting for New Year. It was a good holiday. I traveled up the coast to see a friend I taught with in Paraguay. She introduced me to her mother, a 92-year old writer, who wore a cowboy hat with a headband that had a third eye. I had to smile. She’d earned that.

I, then, followed the Pacific Ocean south to see my Dad in San Diego. It felt good to be near him. We hadn’t celebrated Christmas together in years.

I made gifts for the people I loved. It felt good to give these gifts away. I have never been one for Christmas, but this year, the spirit entered into me. Christmas meant a lot to me.

And now I am in the desert, preparing for 2019. I look around this cabin I bought when I was young. I have returned to its walls, middle aged. The house is too. Once we were both brand new, now we’re both in need of some repairs.

I welcome it. I have spent several years blowing with the wind, being distracted by people, places and things. Something about middle age has made me question these things.

I feel a need to be alone, to tend my own soil, to see will grow. I am no longer curious or willing to be pulled by other things. Age infuses urgency into things.

I look over at Mick. Some people call him my dog. I call him co-pilot. Who knew my spirit animal was a Benji lookalike from Bolivia, but he is. He’s resting on the bed. His legs in the air. He is comfortable here. I am too.

I think of all the things I want to do before I leave this earth; none of which can be done without roots. This I have learned from being on the road. I put my feet on the concrete floor. I see my breath. I look out the window as the sky swirls into hues I’ve never seen in any city.

This scene takes place in silence. I break this. I say,

“Mick, we’ve got a lot to do.”

He wags his tail. I listen. My pen hits paper.

This is how this New Years begins to take root.

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