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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
I love this moment—the last days of the old year and days away from the new one, chairs pulled from other rooms in the house to accommodate the swell of 14 additional people—some on iPads, lots in the kitchen pulling together breakfast, some still asleep—Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” coming through the speaker, minor skirmishes over what is cooler: doors open or doors closed,  a one-year old and a three-year old scurrying around close to the floor as I grab up empty soda cans and full trash baskets ahead of little hands. Anticipation in the air despite the increasing number of covid cases. Possibility for what the new year could be. Hope. Encouragement for personal restarts. My father used to make me write resolutions, which may be why I don’t write them now. But I do make plans. I love making plans. And spreadsheets where I can check things off.
 
Or not check them off… I totally failed at taking a walk each day during December. I just didn’t want to miss anything at the house full of big kids and little kids, where we have been, as I’m sure so many of you were, missing three who tested positive the day before they were supposed to arrive. Luckily, they were coming early, and after 10 days of isolation, they arrived yesterday.
 
During these days of family, I don’t get much time in my study, where I set up a makeshift diaper-changing area, but I did slip in a few days ago. There’s a bookshelf tower near the door where I keep the books I haven’t read yet. I counted 11 classics, and for my January read, quickly narrowed it down to three: Ford’s The Good Soldier, Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, and Wharton’s House of Mirth. I read the first paragraph of each and did a quick internet search. For The Good Soldier, I found this comment by Julian Barnes, which intrigued me enough to choose this novel.

And if the second verb of the first sentence cannot be trusted, we must be prepared to treat every sentence with the same care and suspicion. We must prowl soft-footed through this text, alive for every board's moan and plaint.

Speaking of plans, while I keep my appointments in my computer/phone, that doesn’t work for projects and lists of things to do. I need these items to be in my face. So I supplement with the Moleskine Classic Planner Weekly Layout, large and soft and black. My 2022 version is waiting on my desk, and I’m looking forward to all its blank pages.
In The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize, and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal, J. Drew Lanham writes, “My plumage is a kaleidoscopic rainbow of an eternal hope and the deepest blue of despair and darkness. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” One of the reasons I loved this book was the pleasure of being inside Drew’s head. “What is wildness?” he asks. “To be wild is to be colorful…”
 
He describes the chapters as “patchwork pieces stitched together by memory,” the book as “the story of an ecosystem–of some land, the lives lived on it, and the dreams that unfolded there.” His love of nature gives him a strong sense of the order present in the world.

My heart has moved on to love other people, places, and things like I never thought I could. But that first place I knew as home will always be locked within.
 
To read more about Drew and his writing, click over to Catching Days. And now for a sneak peek into Drew’s day, spent at home in South Carolina.

These are the days of ellipses and words never written but thought…These are the days between warblers and waterfowl; between butterbutt yellow rumps in the myrtle bush and butterball buffleheads on the farm pond. These are the days of doing downward facing dog with the non-napping cat alongside. This is the day I thought of tadpoles in puddles as commas that made me pause as a boy. Still do as a man. These are the days of goldenrod the color of sun.  Of sumac red as blood. These are the mellow days of minor chord wringing tears from my head. These are the days of chipmunk hoarding scurry. These are the days of take your time , but hurry—’cause there’s not enough time. [read more]
I hope you're enjoying bright moments and the chaos and mess that will be gone in a week and that you're taking care of yourself and able to be together with the people you care about.
 
Let me know what you’re reading to start off the new year. And if you’re joining me to read The Good Soldier, let me know that too.
 
And what are your plans for this new year? Any resolutions? Like me, do you use the new year as a reset button? 
 
With this newsletter, I wish you hope as you kick off into the new year. And excitement for your personal restarts. And always, health.
 
Happy new year.
This is an email from me to you so write me back. Let me know how you’re spending your days. And you can find past emails here.

Happy last days of December and thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #31 December 2021
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