Once again my lack of attention to this website has caused me little pangs of guilt that have finally spurred me into action. It has been a year since the publication of my book Too High to Go to Woodstock: recollections on my life and times. My recollections of this year have been mostly positive and even upbeat, and one theme that has been a constant over this year is that of change. This time of the year brings many, especially media sources, the desire to reflect and recount the major stories and events of the past year. Enough! Rehashing the old stuff gets old. So no rehashing here. Well, just one: CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN! The World Series at last!
Another annoying aspect that comes with the end of a year is that of looking ahead. Looking forward to positive changes is a reasonable objective, but the outcomes do not necessarily follow the best laid plans. Most often any change I faced was tinged with fear or regret, usually accompanied by a stubborn refusal to accept the inevitable. Many of my old “recollections” were simple. NO! I want this moment, day, activity and/or feeling to last forever.
Yet, something has changed. There is an air of excitement about the possibility of doing things differently or of doing different things. I am eager to make changes, but when things don’t go fast enough or go the way I want them to, exasperation and frustration set in.
As I drifted off to sleep last night with my windows open, I heard an owl hoot, a very common sound near my house. I was reminded of the essay “Listening for Owls” by Scott Russell Sanders, and how my new attitude about change has been brought about because I am listening to my inner owl (okay-corny). It may be no coincidence that Sanders lives in Indiana, but my longing to return to the scene of so many of the so-called crimes described in my memoir, is kind of weird considering that most of my life was spent trying to get out, to run from that Midwestern state. That owl last night echoed my thoughts and the mantra that has run through my consciousness this past year: I want to go home! Whiney? Maybe, but as I stirred awake this morning, roused by the distant call of a rooster, my first thought (who knows why it popped into my head?) was of a little sing-song nursery rhyme/ditty I heard as a child and one that seems appropriate to the season:
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in an old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.
This doesn’t seem connected to anything else I’ve just written, and I’m not even sure who’s the “you” that God will bless. But…I actually do have a ha’penny, so do I still get a blessing or do I have to look for an old man with a hat?
So I guess I am looking ahead, expectantly, desiring the outcome I want but aware that expectations are not always met.