Tonight's image is from Helmut Scheurlein, courtesy of Dr Scheurlein's siteStrange, beautiful, inevitable New Year.
I passed a chilled-out, low-key, slurry-tipsy (i.e. not lying unconscious in a pool of my own vomit) in Lynbridge, Devon (smack between Lynton and Lynmouth). Pippa, an old housemate and close friend of Kate's from University, has a family cottage there and we went from Sunday to Tuesday. Lovely food, great company and tempestuous weather outside, peppered with rushes of heavy rain.
Despite the deliciously low-beat pitch of our New Year celebrations, my inner state more closely reflected the storms outside. I spent the two days under a bewildering enchanted cloud of twitching, uncertain, unsettledness, which I didn't even vaguely understand and feared inflicting on the others.
Perhaps it is the season itself that unsettles me; the cultural expectations of impending change amidst mantras of New Year, New You - the Great Possibility. This does not affect me so usually; I have rarely been restricted to imposing or accepting sudden change only at New Year. Instead I think it is more specific, the season mixing with my own expectations and desires for change, and the uncertainties and questions these bring with them.
I kept thinking of Esther Greenwood in the Bell Jar, all her options outstretched as if upon the branches of a tree...
...which is why The Bell Jar is today's Read of the Day.
"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree....
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
I think of just a handful of my possible choices, my hopes and dreams for 2007 and beyond, and I struggle, like Esther to know which to reach for; first, at once, at all. Although I'd be lying if I were to tell you these thoughts don't make my heart beat just a bit faster, I know one thing for sure, thanks to an adage of the Chief's.
Change is inevitable. Except from a vending machine.
Today's Beautiful Things
1. Full moon. Almost. How many more excuses to be a little lunatic does a girl need?
2. G - for posting for me when I could not do my twenties journalism
3. Staying up til midnight with Pinot Grigio and the Live Lounge