The winter light is ethereal, clear and as sweetly colored as Easter candy in dazzling but soft pink, blue and yellow splendor. It's a show I never get tired of. But something else around here is shifting. There is a big change on the horizon, I can feel it almost as sure as the nudge of a new day. Since the For Sale sign appeared in front of the house next door, a home that sits right behind us which for about 50 weeks out of the year is quiet and empty, things have felt untethered. It's always seemed like our own private little parcel of water and sky when I sit at the table and sip my morning coffee and write staring out at the ever changing sea. Our many windows that face the water are always uncovered to let the view in, and I've always wondered if people across the basin can see into our little lives on display, bare and open. It's something I've never really minded, but with the thought of peering eyes so close next door I know it just won't feel the same. But who knows? Maybe the greatest family will move next door with kids who blend right in with our own and a couple who we will spend many hours laughing and sitting on the dock with. You never know.
With all the upheaval at Alex's school (we are still waiting for the fateful answers on that front) and the sense that I will be going back to work in some way very soon as our youngest is off to school soon, things feel unusually uncertain. Change is always inevitable but it's never easy.
In the midst, I have still been toying with ideas for my word of the year (hense the empty label in the middle of my planner) but I know I'm leaning towards something that evokes simplicity and the bare bones of what makes this life a solid and happy place. I'm all about the necessities these days and figuring out exactly what those are.
Last year was a bit of a jumbled mess that got derailed pretty early on by my dad's illness. But as with all trauma, it throws you back into the loving arms of those simple things you need to survive. The rest, you're again reminded, is icing on the cake. So this is where I'm beginning this year, at ground zero, getting rid of what is not necessary, and keeping only what sustains me. This year, instead of a Planner Pad which I have been using for the last many years as my organizing tool of choice, I decided to downsize here as well and went for a medium sized Moleskine. There are weekly pages on the left and blank pages on the right, a perfect balance of structure and freedom I think. Instead of writing all my appointments and goals, I've decided to use this space to keep track of daily gratitude and scribble notes I want to capture, a softer place focused more on knowing and dreaming and less on productivity. It's half the size of what I usually use, easy to carry around and hold on my lap, and it already feels so much more of a better fit.