I found the above quote on The Salonierre's blog -- so thanks for that, Doll!
I think this woman was a previous me.
I think this woman was a previous me.
This year has been one for the books, all right. I think we can all agree on that much, at least. There has certainly been ample reason to hang the Latin phrase "annus horribilis" on 2016 as we close the book on this year. Made popular by Queen Elizabeth one year in her annual address to Parliament when her kids just weren't acting right, the phrase has become part of the lexicon.
On the national front here on our side of the Pond was the bitter presidential election which was anything but presidential, with it's hideous outcome that in the future may make us look back and think maybe this year was actually wonderful, many of us uneasily wait with a sense of impending doom, wondering whether the newly "elected" orangutan will become a modern day Führer. The collection of Neo-Nazis who are being appointed to powerful positions certainly makes me shudder. Social progress will be set back at least a hundred years, and women will again be put back in their rightful place as sex objects put on earth only to serve and please their men, cranking out babies, wanted or not. Texas with it's stance on Planned Parenthood is leading the way on that one. Whole groups of people, including many U.S. Citizens -- not just immigrants -- are once again living in fear for their personal freedom and safety. The earth's climate will be pushed past the tipping point by those denier friends of YOUKNOWWHO whose first goal is to drill, baby, drill and produce more oil in turn lining the already-bulging coffers of the Billionaire's Club. The very idea of this bunch with the nuclear codes at their fingertips is enough to cause the Pope to have a nervous breakdown.
Many, many well-known and influential people died this year, including a famous mother and daughter just this week, one day apart. We will no doubt see retrospective upon recap, listing all the famous departed in the media as we do every year at this time, but it does seem that more have left the earth this year than usual. On a personal level, I have lost several friends in the past year. I have felt these losses deeply, perhaps more so because of the current atmosphere of fear and pessimism for what might be coming. Not being particularly mystical, I can't help but wonder if there is some grand scheme or plan in the universe taking place that I do not understand.
On the personal homefront level, Sweet Husband experienced a marathon of misery this year with a dental issue which was not easily resolved. Several trips we had planned were canceled as a result, and his on-going pain definitely affected quality of life for a long time. I have been pretty lucky, considering that my health issues have been very minor this year. Fingers crossed in the coming year.
Yesterday we made the hour's drive over to my old hometown, taking the small back roads instead of the Interstate when we could, to visit the cemetery and place new florals in the marble urns on either side of the headstone bearing my family name. It is getting rundown, becoming buried in layers of pine cones and pine straw which have fallen and fallen again from the numerous tall pines which shade the graves of the resting ones. (There is supposed to be "Perpetual Care" -- I don't know what has happened to that...) It is always poignant because I look around at the names on the neighboring headstones, and it always strikes me that those nearby were my family's close neighbors in life, just as they are now in death. I remember their houses well, just about as well as I remember my own childhood home, and I have to try really hard to remember my town as it once was when it was so very pretty that strangers always remarked on it's beauty and charm.
That charm is no more. Depressing and run-down, once pristine neighborhoods have now become ghettos. Just across the street and in the neighborhoods surrounding the cemetery, are houses where some of my best childhood friends lived. It is not at all pretty. My parents' old home less than a mile away is now an area that a lot of people are even afraid to drive through. The cemetery itself is up on a hill, mountains on the horizon, still a beautiful spot for a final resting place when you don't look at the surrounding areas too closely. I feel uneasy there on that hillside now, not peaceful in my heart any more when I visit, because this part of town is not the neighborhood I once knew.
Yesterday was particularly cold and windy. The state of the place plus the chill late December wind gusts put me in a very black mood for the rest of the day. When we reached the restaurant back over the mountain in Oxford where we had decided to have lunch before heading back to Birmingham, I discovered I had lost a favorite earring, no doubt while trying to keep my wind-tossed hair brushed back out of my eyes with one hand while trying to jam the flowers down into the stubborn gravels filling the urns with the other. Sweet Husband asked me if I wanted to go back to the cemetery and look for it, and I said, "No, let it go. I am not going back there for at least another year. In fact, I may never go back at all. It is just too depressing." I had never felt this sentiment so acutely till this visit.
We read and write obsessively on these blogs all about "Home" and everything connected with it. Yet, the focus is usually on the decor and furnishings or how we did some particular project, not the actual concept of "Home" and our feelings about it. What I feel today as I write is not only such despair at what has happened to my once-pretty hometown, but the concept of our country as our home = safe place. Until 9-11we thought we were invincible to foreign attack on our homeland. We are not.
Although my town was certainly not without it's issues when I was growing up, it still used to feel like home = safe place when I would visit short-term. I was always very glad to leave it again because there were larger issues of fitting in and belonging and holding ideas too liberal for the scope of life in such a small Southern conservative town. I always felt I was never cut out to live out my life there, even as a small child. Still, it was a special place, a sacred compartment of my life, a touchstone that shaped who I became, for better or worse. Yesterday I was feeling very keenly that Thomas Wolfe phrase, "You can't go home again." That home that I once knew, where I felt so safe as a young child, is long gone, both as a state of mind, as well as the physical house where I lived with my family, who are also long gone. The two houses where we lived are still there, just not inhabited by anyone I know.
I have made a new home with my Sweet Husband for twenty-six years now, where I am fortunate to feel secure and protected once again. For so many years I faced the world alone as a single mother trying to protect my child from all the big screaming meanies out there, so it was doubly sweet for me to "find home" again while my son as a young adult was finding his own way out in the great big world. So many people do not have that most basic, most treasured place -- HOME -- feeling safe and secure with a person or people they love, no matter what the status of their abode. If this election has taught us anything, it is that we are vulnerable, that maybe we are not so safe in our home country anymore. Our entire process of electing a new president was hacked by the Russians, as was the water supply of Burlington, Vermont. What next?
The horrors happening in Aleppo, as well as other cities under siege around the world, serve as contrast to make us feel truly grateful for our country and very protective of it, this United States of America, no matter where in it or how we live. The very thought that this country -- our larger and collective HOME -- is being threatened with similar anarchy to undermine our safe home is what is killing me now.
I have contributed to organizations which help refugees from some of the aforementioned places under siege from hideous extremist groups. I will continue to voice my opinions here and on every other outlet I can find, at least as long as this is a free country. My heart is heavy with the prospect that it may not always be possible. I think MY WORDS FOR THE COMING YEAR will be "Vigilance" and "Diligence." I have never before picked a word or words for the New Year as many do, but this year I think I have. I may be just one little person with a big mouth and one little blog, but I do believe that "The pen is mightier than the sword." ["The English words "The pen is mightier than the sword" were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu."]
Words do matter. It's still true today, figuratively speaking, although 'the pen' is now an electronic device. I hope that if you share the feelings I have expressed here, or even if you differ somewhat, but you are still very concerned about what may happen in our country in the next few years, that you will use the power of your words, too, to try to make positive changes so that our country can continue to be a better place to live for everyone. It also helps to use your pocketbook a little bit, too.
I will be revamping this blog again pretty soon, and I hope you will be able to navigate through it easier. Many of the functions, such as being able to find previous posts on any given subject, do not seem to be working exactly as I planned or wanted, so I hope to improve that to make it easier to find what you are looking for.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
|My new profile photo --|
love it or hate it?
I will be back presently sharing food, decor and tables, etc. and whatever else is on my mind that day, so if you haven't imploded at this point -- see you soon!