The other day someone told me that they wanted to try to forego complaining for a year as I had pledged to do. I reminded them that I had reached the end of my tenth year and still had not accomplished my goal.
Maybe a month? she asked. I replied, Try a day. If you make it for a day, try another day.
We shared a laugh and then she continued away from the place where our lives had intersected. I stood at the counter in the artist cooperative which I just founded. I looked around at the smattering of customers, feeling fatigue grip my soul. I leaned against the sturdy library tabletop that my friend Michelle used to make our cashier stand. I let my eyes close for a second, leaning into the pain which daily surges through my legs and the other pain, low in my back, which charts the forward march of my spinal stenosis.
This morning, Michelle texted to ask how I felt. No bombs falling on my village, I responded. She agreed that we indeed fare better than those in Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, Russia. We’ve made it past Thanksgiving and Christmas hovers on the horizon. Whatever the state of our health, all is quiet in the surrounding winter air. Soon this year will fade into our memories, leaving only the stark lowlights and breathtaking highlights as bewildering evidence of twelve long and often mediocre moon cycles.
As the migrating birds begin to appear in the fields of Andrus Island, I contemplate my journey westward six years ago come December. If I am the sum of all the pieces and parts of my experiences, my tapestry falls tattered on the bed but still warms my aching bones. My clumsy weaver’s hands have done their best to fashion an enduring fabric, though the warp and weft be crooked and ragged.
Last night’s the harvest moon wanes as it climbs over the meadow. I stare at its brightness. I close my eyes and rock. I feel my spirit follow the flow of time downriver. It reaches the Bay and continues westward, to the ocean, to eternity, to the pale light on the rippling water that will rock me to a gentle slumber.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the one-hundred and nineteenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.