My wonderful and talented niece, Chessie, surveys the annual revolution that is December and January - with travelling perspective in her blog from Belize. Thank you Chessie for all the support, wisdom and strength you've give us this second half of the year.
Read it and weep:
Revolutions by Chessie Henry
I am thinking about revolutions. Revolutions at their simplest – slow, circular, strange rotations which take us back to the beginning.
The days bleed towards January. January; brimming with promises or second chances, upward inflections on the tips of tongues. Onwards and upwards we go, into January.
I think about the strange swirl that pulls us forwards – the certainty of days mapped ahead of us, behind us. We wade through the days as we always do, awakening at the breaking wave of another tiny revolution – the curve of Monday, Tuesday, week, weekend.
In this unfamiliar place, I am buoyant, floating – tied, rather than anchored, to familiar connections: faded clothes and the sun burnt shoulders of old friends. I lose the days, bleached colour days, which blur away from me like time in dreams. And yet the New Year calls, another turn of the tide and who knows what will be swept away by its sudden force?
The wave pulls us backwards and I marvel at what is left, what made it through. I am the same, yet infinitely changed; what is lost is here somewhere, surely? But somehow I find myself moving forward without it.
Resolutions. Last year’s written lying lengthways on a carpet, backs of legs warmed by a pale square of sunlight. Good intentions bleeding on to brown paper; a pleasing plan, the firm promise of ink and numbers. And now? December again, and a year behind me. A year, whose swooping curves surprised me, shattered me. Filled me with love.
We didn’t all make it. That’s the main thing. We are here, at the end, crunchy Christmas December, but we are missing one. An important one. And yet the tiny revolutions continue. I awake to more sky, more sun – another day pulled away by time and tide.
How to continue? A time for resolutions; especially now with this blank-canvas year ahead of me. In the paranoid hours of dark morning, half dreaming I plot and plan: different cities, houses jobs. I am elusive to myself – a shadow of me walks down Cuba St, whipped by a Wellington wind. But I am in Auckland too, or Dunedin – safe in a familiar, candle lit room, crochet blankets and books.
But resolutions? I can’t connect these shapeless plans with the magnitude of another year, another roll of possibilities waiting to be developed. The terrible, beautiful things that haven’t happened yet. I am already half a foot in next December – and who will be there with me?
Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. Someone said that, once, and now on the brink of another unlikely revolution I find it ringing in my ears.
Emotions come easily for me. They swirl incessantly beneath the surface of my skin; easily pleased, easily hurt. Happiness and hopefulness pool as naturally as the sudden depths of loss, called to mind without warning like the bright, shapeless bone of a dream.
I want to tell you how I feel – all of you. To mark it here, the searing permanence of ink on a page, the distinct stripe of my printing, so you know, always, that I felt this way. I want to tell truths – small truths and big ones – and shape myself more with each truth I tell. Even in the shifting, lucid waters of a new year I am steady in this<em>: I know how I feel</em>.
Travel days are mellow, seamless. Connections are rare and fleeting. Real connections that is, where you know that in another life you would have had more than three days together; you would have had years. We laugh like old friends, and I want to say this: you are BRILLIANT. I appreciate you.
A small truth, easily told. Back home I try to reign in ‘I love you’, knowing how it will sometimes sit uncomfortably. But now it swells in my chest, sings in my bones; tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. Words left unsaid are just that, unspoken and unacknowledged. I swim toward another precious year, slow and full with words waiting to be formed.
My precious, precious family. We lost one, but yet we remain.
My beautiful friends, cast out across the world like glittering cities on the map of my life. I am grateful.
January is coming, and all of us ride the slow, strange, circular revolution which takes us back to the beginning. December sweeps us along in its wave, and I wait for the pull back which will leave us washed up in January. In January I will stand, with everyone who washed up there too, and I will be thinking about connections.
But in the meantime, there is a small truth I would like you all to know, solid and unchanging in this steady sweep of passing days:
The truth is you are brilliant.
And I appreciate you endlessly.
To read more from Chessie see her blog