Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's a Celebration

Walt Whitman confused me, and a whole lot of other college freshman, with the first line of his epic poem, Song of Myself:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself.

Once I got over the sense that Walt was just a little-- *ahem* --infatuated with himself… once I read on and realized by ‘himself’ he meant the entire world…I decided I could really get behind that concept.

I know, I know, it’s corny to say that we should celebrate ourselves more. But then…we really should celebrate ourselves more.

It's possible I overdo it a little…I know I tend toward the Polly-Anna-ish, “look on the bright side” of things. In fact, I have it on good authority that such an attitude can veer right on over into obnoxiousness. My son makes fun of me: Gee mom, aren't those fluffy pink clouds just the prettiest things you've ever seen? And just look at that flower -- isn't that magenta with orange just amazing?

But the truth is, such things are pretty darned cool.

With the everyday grind of life, the monotonous, never-ending struggle to pay the rent and get the kids to their doctor appointments and keep the paperwork straight and make sure we’re keeping up our end in our jobs and our relationships and our organizations…it is tough to lift one’s head up from the muck and the mire and imagine: What if I knew I was going to die tomorrow? What would I appreciate today? What would I see, and smell, and hear... and know I was going to miss?

None of which is to say that I don’t look ahead and strive for the next challenge, the next adventure. I vow I will not, ever, be lulled into complacency. But while I’m struggling for the Golden Ring, I don’t want to lose sight of the really good stuff along the way.

And I don't just mean the most obvious: Children, friends, wine, food, laughter, love….

How about...
That special shade of green one only sees during spring, in new growth
Commiserating with a dear friend over really good Scotch
The smell of rain when it falls on warm sidewalks
Strings of Christmas lights and the smell of pine in the house
The morning’s first sip of really good, dark French roast
The way loved ones’ eyes crinkle at the corner when they smile
Hitting “send” on a finally-finished manuscript (in which case I simply must dance through the house to Billy Idol, turned up to “11”)

Old Walt had quite a list, himself, but I liked this part especially:

The smoke of my own breath, Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs...

It may be corny...but it’s high time to celebrate.


Big Sis....with a new coat.... said...

It is a true artist that can evoke such images, that is part of what makes Jules Jules. I think that it is also a good deal of Mom. That is how she viewed the world and I think that it shaped your personality into the beautiful thing that it is.

Nicole Peeler said...

YAY! What a lovely post! You've inspired me to do something similar for New Year!

Sophie Littlefield said...

you are a gifted celebrator, my darling friend...which is probably why I keep following you around trying to learn how you do it. a hanger-on, so to speak!

L.G.C. Smith said...

So well said, beautifully and with your usual artistry. Another wonderful post!

Juliet Blackwell said...

Many thanks to all of you ;-) I hope you know that friends and family are among the things I most cherish, and (happily!) most often remember to celebrate! How lucky am I?
(oops, there I go, doing that obnoxious "counting my blessings" thing again...)

Lisa Hughey said...

LOVE this :) an absolutely perfect reminder to start the new year off right.

ps. I pay homage to our mountain, its moods and colors and beauty, every day on the way to school. My kids make fun of me too.

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