Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year (& a spillage of unexpected black thoughts -- sorry!)

It's New Year's Eve -- Happy New Year everybody! It's funny, I really LOVE the idea of a new year laying ahead of us (like a board game path of all blank spaces we get to fill in ourselves) but I'm not so into celebrating the Eve. We used to give in to the pressure and make reservations somewhere "cool" where the prices were mysteriously tripled for the night and it was crowded and the service bad and you'd kiss at midnight and drink your tiny champagne and that was that. I'm so not a party girl!

For the much-vaunted Millennial eve, Jim and I and our friends Richard and Nadine decided to be far from any potential Y2K disasters (not that we really believed in it) and booked really great hotel rooms in Yosemite with hot tubs and fire places, with the intention of cross-country skiing and ignoring all the hoopla. The problem was there was NO SNOW that year. So we actually hiked the Mist Trail on New Year's Eve! That's unheard of in January! It glittered with icicles and was so, so lovely. All good so far. The problem came with our decision to take advantage of the pass being open to Mammoth Lakes -- again, unheard of in January! So we went and saw Mono Lake and did wintery things and then. . . a flake of snow fell. And they closed the pass. With us on the wrong side. That is, on the opposite side from our hot tubs. I can't even tell you what a misery it was -- we had to drive north almost all the way to Tahoe to the next pass!!!!! I think it turned what should have been a 45-minute drive into a 9-hour one. Something like that. We almost hit a deer, night fell, the road got icy. We told our life stories in turn to pass the time.

Things like that make your realize how easy our lives are -- those passes weren't always there! Could I have been a pioneer wife? I don't know. I like the thought of the adventure of it, but without the risk and the numbing endless work. Can you imagine moving your family someplace where you know there will be no doctor, no police, no fire department. Nowadays we check ambulance response times before moving to a new zip code. Seriously, could you move your children someplace with no doctor? Imagine how powerful the dream of a new life must have been, of owning land, of owning horizon that drove people to take such risks.

And all over the world, every day, people go to refugee camps with their children, or flee into the unknown with nothing. I didn't mean this post to lead here, for god's sake. Who knew? I have terrible fears for the world, for the rising tide of fundamentalism and the extreme and horrifying conflagration of hatred that our idiot leader has fanned like a gleeful freaking pyromaniac. I feel like such a baby having my simplistic thoughts, my selfish thoughts, wanting a safe place to live, a planet that is not being choked by pollution, people not being slaughtered, and no impending doom creeping my way. Or anyone's way. I just want to be cozy most of the time, and explore our beautiful world some of the time, and have it be safe and prosperous, with family planning and clean water and no war. We have this amazing thing, this planet spinning in space, full of mountains and tigers and ice floes and volcanoes, weird fruit and weird bats, people of every color speaking hundreds of languages and tattooing themselves with magical runes and braiding their hair and wearing silk and leather and nothing; we have cities, art, bridges, the flowering of our magnificent minds, we have medicine, water filtration, sewage treatment, agriculture. We have mangoes for god sake! Why do we have to kill each other? Why can't we just eat each other's food and buy each other's art and learn each other's languages so we can hear each other's epics, fireside, with moonshine, with cocoa, with drumming, with dancing, with foot rubs? Why why why why why????

I don't have high hopes for this year on that score. Hatred will mount. Body counts will rise. Most of us, with a few exceptions won't see much of it except on TV, if even that. I don't have a positive way to wrap up this post except to say that I hope this year can be good in small ways. I hope our new Democratic congress can begin to unpick the terrible snarl the Republicans have made, though that is a job I wouldn't wish on anyone. I hope that I and you and others can have moments of beauty and success, and that the good people in the world working for positive change make some headway against the ignorance and nastiness.

I hope. Hopeful New Year.

23 comments:

Frida World said...

I dont find your post to be dark - to me it is an eloquently passionate cry against the madness and badness, and sometimes pure and simple stupidness, that is doing so much harm to our beautiful planet and its inhabitants.

I got a little gift from a blogger friend who was in Mozambique recently - a Franciscan blessing that seems to match the good place in you that this post was born from. I don't know how to put a link in a comment so I'll just write it out here.

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
Turn their pain into joy

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

God bless you Laini.

(PS: I've been having fun at the Laini's Ladies website and I'm going to get lots of ladies for all my friends here, I hope you don't mind so many of them going into a war-zone, but we will be sure to keep them safe, just as they will help keep us sane!)

Deb R said...

I think wishing for a Hopeful New Year is a good thing, Laini. So Hopeful New Year wishes to you as well.

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Let's hope all of your well-wishes come true, your sense of doom is for naught, and that the world can reflect upon the amazement of life in all forms and just...be.

Sigh. To dream, eh?

Know that I love you at least :)
Husbles

Catherine said...

Moments of peace, beauty and hope start with individuals. I'm sure you will create many such moments in the coming year

sheryl said...

Hi there,

Thanks for the offer to help me figure things out.

Sheryl

Sam said...

I have been feeling very much the same way. There has been much ugliness in the world the past few days. A slight shift in the atmosphere of things.

I too hope our politians can get to work to make things right. I just don't know if they see it the same way.

There is so much good in the world. Kind good people who are making a difference on a simpler level I have hope in the end their hard work and our prayers will make a difference.

Happy New Year!
Sam

megg said...

I wish a hopeful and fiesty new year for you! I will be forever grateful to 2006 (and Alexandra) for introducing me to you. You are a funny friend - I have no one else in my life who can both inspire me with complete beauty and whimsy and magic in one breath and kick my ass politically and ethically in another. You are one of a kind! I am so grateful for you!

Happy New Year to you all!!!

rdl said...

i know how you feel and i am glad that you have that beautiful room to retreat to.
Happier New Year!!

deirdre said...

All I can say to this is yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Alexandra S said...

I use to wonder why the whole world doesn't stop in its tracks and devote itself to helping other people but now I see that people help in so many different kinds of ways, and that carving out beautiful spaces like your writing room and thrusting beautiful art and books out into the world is one of the best ways to ensure that this world remain beautiful and inspired and inspiring. I can't understand either how some can actively want and wage war, I can understand it somehow from those who have so little, if anything, but then you look at people like Saddam Hussein, who had all the riches and palaces he could want, and still, he had to pour nerve gas on people and murder and pillage at whim. I'm split- half is filled with dread and doom, and the other half with hope and excitement. YOU are one of the spirits & hearts that make the world as bright & kind as its meant to be so keep on illuiminating the way! Happy new Year!

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a dark post at all-- it was pure poetry. Clear, sharp, vivid.

Bracing.

I think I have my motto for 2007, however . . .

Do it for the MANGOES, for god's sake!!!!!


heeeee-- love to you baby.

~bluepoppy

Jamie said...

What I hear in your post, Laini, is a deep love of the world, a compasionate vision of peace and safety for everyone. I think that's a beautiful thing. I read the other day that beauty heals. Know that everyday you are contributing to the healing of all those around you. You are a shining spark.

Amber said...

Laini, I adore your heart. I think you might have been Anne Frank in another life. ;) A hopeful, beautiful person. So needed in this world.

I just saw Blood Diamond, and I came out feeling like this...I want to think about it, and write a post. But my feeling was a little dark about the world, and wishing the world were more like you have said here. (and also, I am never buying another natural diamond).

Here's to ading my prayer to your good hope for the world. Here's to what 'Should Be', huh?

:)

ceanandjen said...

You know what? This was not at all dark. It was realistic, yes; however, it reminded us of all the simplistic beauty there is around us. I use the word simplistic only because it seems that if we viewed everything more "simply" perhaps we would not get caught up in all of this war and death and hate. Because, you are right, why can't we just eat each others food, buy each other's art and SPEAK to one another...learn from one another. When one thinks about it in the terms you present here, the madness of the world makes even LESS sense than it did to begin with.

No, I think this post is a big gift...and wonderful reminder. I embrace your words and your meaning...you should spread this message farther, because it is a powerful one indeed.

Happiness to you!!!!!

gerry rosser said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing the Yosemite story. I could relate such anecdotes, but you did it better.
I also have been thinking of the negatives in the world, and the pain and loss caused by mistaken notions by a few of how they think the world ought to work.

I have little faith the democratic senators and congressmen can accomplish anything. Pres. Bush cares not a fig what anyone thinks, and he'll keep his veto pen loaded with plenty of ink. Perhaps more discouraging to me is the lack of much expression by the new electees about a number of issues which concern me. The environment gets little mention, for example. I'm not going into a rant here.

Your post wasn't dark by me.

kelly rae said...

it was so great seeing you guys over lunch. we'll be back soon! happy new year to you, too! it's going to be a huge year for you both!

Sophie said...

little acts of love go far -
that is what i tell myself anyway-

it is what i always wish -
that everyone could have a
cozy safe home with enough to
eat.

hugs:)

Tinker said...

Wishing you a happy new year, Laini - one filled with many moments of beauty, success, cocoa, moonshine and mangoes! And that we'll somehow overcome any maniacal tendencies in our leaders, to have peace on our little blue planet - and maybe even some foot rubs. :)

chest of drawers said...

As long as we are writing, creating, connecting,colouring-in, there will be bright moments BUT we must not ignore the troubles around us, continue to fight for what we believe in, be caring and honest and do good for the environment so our kids and their kids can have bright moments too!

Frida World said...

PS: Thanks to the wonders of online technology eight Laini's ladies are making their way to Borthwick Ave in Portland, from where they will fly to the end of the earth and land in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Some will fall in love with 'The Land of the Long White Cloud' and decide to settle there. Others will feel they have not yet found their destiny and will fly onwards, via Melbourne, Bangkok and Dubai, towards Afghanistan, where they will brighten the lives of their new hosts.

Thank you!

maggie said...

Here's to happiness where we CAN control it-on our own private postage stamps of home and garden! And in our studios where we can shut out all the bad stuff and make good stuff that makes other people happy!

Anonymous said...

ways make new friends

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the blog - flight majorca. A new site has been launched with plenty of bargain holidays to choose from. Bookmark http://www.bargainplace.co.uk not just for bargain holidays but for flights and transport to and from airports plus travel insurance deals and holiday clothes.