The Week of Reflection this year (or, wait: last year) took the form of elbow grease, as I labored to transform my front hall stairs from ugly to fabulous. I'm going to take a moment to reflect now, but only a moment, because the fun part of the stair project begins today: putting on the final colors.
I join the rest of the world in rejoicing that the shitshow that was 2016 is over, but let's not kid ourselves: in the public sphere, at least, 2017 will be all about managing the aftermath. We will have a president who refuses to believe US intelligence agencies when he doesn't like what they have to say; we will still be the country where literal Nazis, giving,literally, Nazi salutes, held a convention at the Ronald Wilson Reagan Federal building. (Whatever you - or I - may have thought of Reagan as president, he was a patriot, and no Nazi.) Swastikas painted on synagogues, children being taunted in school for Hispanic ancestry. The world has gone mad, our nation is bitterly cleft, and the ugliness of humanity has been empowered.
But what's a potter to do? I am living my life on parallel tracks: on the one hand, I feel like our American democracy is at peril, a fear which demands my attention and action....on the other hand, the cats still need to be fed, the kiln shelves still need to be scraped, those mugs will need handles before they get too dry. Everything has changed, and nothing.
So, I live. I mix glazes, scoop litterboxes, I tend my garden. (Figuratively, of course: it's January, in Maine. The garden is one thing that does not need tending.) In between I call my senators, and volunteer for organizations that may protect those who will be hit harder by the coming storm than I will. And I hope that in passions outside of the public sphere - like, say, clay - we can find common ground.
I do have New Year's Resolutions, because I love New Year's Resolutions! But my staircase is calling, so these will have to wait. Until then, I found this lovely clip of music scientifically designed to release stress. Enjoy, and have a lovely New Year's Day.