Hi friend. It’s currently Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. If I could meet you for a drink at a bar to reminisce on the past year, this is what I would want to tell you.
I’d order whiskey on the rocks, for starters. I’d take my first sip and let the cold, viscous liquid settle in my mouth before swallowing it down. I’d relish in the burning, warming sensation as it made its way down my throat and chest.
I’d put my empty hand to my heart and open my lips to speak. No words would come. I’d take another drink before returning the glass to the sticky, wooden bar. I’d slowly swivel my barstool towards you, and look you directly in the eyes. My eyes would well up, but no tears would spill down my cheeks. It would be too intense and I’d want to look away, but I would resist that urge.
I’d hold your gaze as I told you about the whirlwind that was last fall. I’d tell you about when our massive gumwood fell in a crazy windstorm. How it narrowly missed our roof and destroyed our fence. I’d tell you about my thoughts and my fears (more like premonitions) on the election, my third marathon, and Thanksgiving in Sacramento.
I’d tell you about our blustery Oregon winter. My ambitious goals for 2017. My mounting unrest and desire to do something more with my life. My impromptu trip to Arizona, needing to get away and get some perspective. About how writing, in all its various forms, is my cathartic compulsion. About just how much getting my first Travel Oregon piece published meant to me, however commonplace.
We’d order a second round and I’d laugh as we made our way to the topics of spring. I’d tell you about running my fourth marathon the morning of my family Passover Seder. About finally arriving at my decision to leave my university job with the cushy benefits to go back to the non-profit world and begin what felt (feels) like an actual career as a grant writer.
I’d tell you how it seems that I blinked and summer came and went. About how not much happened at all on the home front, really. About how when I wasn’t working I enjoyed running on roads and trails with the pup. How he finally learned to swim. How I still don’t know what to make of the daily newsreel of the terrible forces of both man and nature…
We’d polish off our drinks at the mentioning of the news, sighing heavily. Another year in the books.
You’d offer to drive me home, but I’d opt for a brisk walk. I’d bundle the scarf a little tighter around my neck, shove my hands in my jacket pockets, and listen to the occasional crunch underfoot as my boots crush the first red and brown leaves of fall.