One of my favorite blogs to follow is Futility Closet. One of their features is "In a Word." Yesterday's word was "apricity," which FC says means "the warmth of the sun in winter." What a lovely word for such a fleeting and unique sensation. May our new year and especially the next three months be filled with this apricity.
I always get to the end of the year feeling like I'm about to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The holidays, beginning with Halloween and continuing through New Year's Eve, provide a distraction to the dropping temperatures and lengthening nights. But there is no mistaking that there are three long months of winter ahead now. I used to be a big skier. Last winter, not at all, this winter, probably not so much. Downhill skiing is expensive and time consuming, but all of that sun and motion and sensation sure is a good antidote for the winter blues. Without a regular weekend commitment to speed and snow, quieter pursuits take over, like pulling my son in his sled along our quiet streets, maybe a little snowshoeing at his grandparents' house in the country. Maybe some writing. Certainly, if I keep it up, the toughest three months of bike commuting. There are no more real holidays, the tree needs to go to the dump, the lights need to be coiled and stored.
At home and in my office, I do my best to de-clutter. I think about what I want to accomplish in the new year and I'm too often filled with regret about what I didn't do in the old.
2011 has been different in that regard. The first full year with my son. The year I dumped Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr from my digital life in an effort to de-clutter there. The year I lost almost 50 pounds. The year I rode 100 miles on my bike for the first time (albeit in the basement!). The year I emptied half of my closet. I'm coming into 2012 and those dark months ahead with some good momentum and I feel more hopeful than usual.
"Maybe a little writing." I look at that phrase in the paragraph up there. The writing has always been a challenge. There was a moment, back at the end of my college career in 1999, when I wrote in a final essay for a class that I was finally ready to accept the title "poet." I'm not so sure if I should still have that title. I struggle with the fear that maybe I just wanted to be a writer, but not to actually write. I struggle with the way inspiration and time and a clean desk all seem to pass one another so fleetingly, like that winter sun. I struggle with the glaring vividness of the dreams I have in the morning, so many of them seeming to allude to a greater thing out there that I am supposed to be doing, and the first step is to write it down.
Apricity. Little accomplishments in the new year, born in the cold and the dark. Maybe a poem whose first line enters my head while I'm shoveling out the car. Maybe an idea for a novel that comes as I grind my way up the hill to my office, rear wheel slipping in the sludge and frozen breath clouding my lenses. Maybe the first day in March when there's a bare rock in the woods big enough to sit on, melting the snow at its margins with the retained heat of brief winter sun.