I’m welcoming the New Year a few days late, thanks to getting hit with the flu just as the old year was ending.
As usual, I don’t want to take down my Christmas decorations. Sometimes, I love the after-Christmas “hush” more than Christmas itself. I like to sit in my dining room and stare at my little three-foot fiber optic Christmas tree on its table in the corner, where it has sat for the past seven Christmases. I like to reflect and be still, preferably with a manageable coating of snow outside, to make everything sparkly and glistening.
But this may be my little fiber optic tree’s last year of service. Because of:
Eight days ago, while I lay half-asleep in bed and the flu wormed its way through my body and I flashed hot, cold and sweaty, there was a crash in the dining room.
My cat, ever-fascinated with my little Christmas tree, had jumped up on the table, gotten scared by the aluminum foil I’d put around the base of the tree for the sole purpose of keeping him away, and bolted, bringing the tree down with him.
“Good God, no,” I thought. “Don’t do this to me today, when the ibuprofen hasn’t even kicked in yet.”
I shuffled into the dining room and the tree lay on the wood floor like a slain animal, ornaments rolling in all directions. My cat lurked in the bedroom doorway, surveying the destruction with rapt curiosity, as though he had no part in it.
At first I thought that, amazingly, no ornaments had been broken. Everything seemed to be intact. But then, the carnage came into focus: a red flocked deer leg, delicate and tiny, lay on the floor a few inches from the tree. It was from my very favorite ornament ever — my vintage deer with the white wreath around its neck.
“No!” I moaned, cradling the tiny leg in my palm. “No!”
But more carnage was revealed: the Puss ‘n Boots ornament my boyfriend gave me for Christmas last year was smashed to pieces. A paw here, a boot there, his sword flung all the way to the kitchen doorway.
I cleaned up the mess, sweating and shaky. By the time I talked to my boyfriend, I had accepted that things I love had been ruined. Puss ‘n Boots, at least, was beyond repair.
And, I discovered later, the tree no longer lights up.
“That is so terrible,” my boyfriend kept saying into the phone. “That is so terrible.” He’s very into Christmas ornaments, and he’d helped me decorate the tree.
His reaction helped me put things into perspective. It was disappointing, but not terrible. My good friend’s dog had passed away unexpectedly just a couple of days before, and I stared at my little twelve-year-old kitten culprit and felt such deep gratitude that he’s healthy enough to wreak havoc with the Christmas tree.
Fast forward several days, to:
I read a beautiful, magical short story by Kij Johnson, called “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss.” Of course, it’s a fact that I am completely obsessed with monkeys, but I don’t love this short story just because of the monkeys. I love it because it reminds me of how the everyday and the tragic are always, always, interlaced with the magical and the mysterious, if we look closely enough.
And: New clients to begin the New Year, clients whose authenticity, brilliance, and willingness to go there remind me of why I wanted to become a coach. Thank you, brave souls.
And: I’m flu-free!
I hope that you, too, are starting the New Year with hearty glimpses of health, magic, brilliance, and bravery.