I'm walking on a country road, the wind—mad and howling—lifting huge walls of snow in the fields around me...and I have U2's New Year's Day in my head. A cliché if there ever was one. But as I drift into the woods, shielded by this geometry of trees I know so well, knee-deep in newly fallen snow, it somehow makes sense: it's a song from my past. Before kids, before photography even—serious photography anyway. When music ruled my entire universe and every hope was a promise, every promise a bond and an absolute. Today is the very first morning of the very first day of 2017, but I'm standing at the perimeter of time, in a landscape devoid of historical markers. It could be 1598 or 1736 or 2045. It could be dawn or dusk, the birthplace of a new species in a new century; an alternate world of airships, where myths are made flesh, atomized and recycled—the process eternal and solitary.
All I know is the wind in the distance. All I know is home beyond the trees.”
Reboots will fix anything. I entered the holidays believing I needed to step away from every single thought even remotely work-related...my very bones were tired. But as it turns out, just removing myself from a self-imposed, daily expectation to "produce" did the trick. I simply needed to break the cycle: Christmas shopping, playing with the kids, shovelling snow, preparing dinner, having my sister and her girls for a sleepover...these very simple tasks and events were enough to clear my mind. And boy did it ever need clearing.
I've set lofty goals for myself this year. I know, I know...resolutions...bla, bla, bla. But it's much more than that. A few days into the reboot my mind went into a frenzy of ideas, forcing me into revisiting my entire workflow from top to bottom. Like some crazy engineer trying to prevent a surge of electricity from blowing up the grid, I spent a couple of days trying to keep up—drawing diagrams and mind maps, retooling my task system and setting the agenda for 2017. I looked at blog topics, personal and client projects, material for The Process, KAGE, IFTTT... this may all seem counterintuitive to the idea of clearing one's head, but the truth is I was carrying so much, had filed away so many items for later use, I could barely breathe anymore.
Life is hard and never gets easier—we lost Princess Leia for fuck's sake. It does however contain the promise of endless rewards, small occurrences mostly, the kind we tend to dismiss or overlook. For several years—due to personal circumstances—I was haunted by this vision of a wall and a speeding car, on a collision course none of us would escape. Now, the wall doesn't feel so close anymore. I hate to admit it —it's terrible to say—but I believe our mom's passing probably helped lift the darkness in some crazy way. It took awhile to sink in but it's what they call closure, I guess. A weightlessness after so much suffering.
On the very first morning of the very first day of 2017, I did in fact stand in the middle of the woods, knee-deep in freshly fallen snow. I took out my iPhone and whispered words into it, imagining an incantation, watching letters magically appear on its glass surface; etchings borne of tiny breaths and frozen mist.
I listened, I waited...and it all felt exactly right. All of it.
Happy New Year everyone.