“We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit
Sin days of auld lang syne...”
I always heard that whatever you were doing when the clock rolled us over into the New Year is what you’d be doing for the next 12 months.
For so many years that has terrified me, this notion that I’d be doomed to repeat the depth of nonsense that I’ve waded through in the days previous.
I’d fight to stay awake and keep my beloved Sasquatch awake and happy until the clock struck midnight and skies across the country erupted in a colorful array. We’d play the music we loved, eat the food we craved and drink the mostly non-alcoholic beverages for which we thirsted. Everything needed to be ‘just so,’ or I’d creep into another new year with a gut full of anxiety.
Groundhog Year...I shiver at the sheer idea of repeating any of the previous 525,600 minutes in any of my 43 years.
Until this year. As physically uncomfortable as I am on a daily basis I would gladly replay these past couple of months. Not that I have a choice since I’m still living it, but I believe you understand my sentiment.
I’m sure I will fall asleep well before midnight snuggled way too close to my Sas and the crew of tiny pink kitty butts that will eventually migrate to my cheek, and my throat, and my forehead. I didn’t imagine I’d ever be comfortable in a twin-size bed with another human person but somehow we’ve made it work. There are lots of elbows and I take more than my fair share of the sharpest shins you’ve ever encountered but once we find that cozy spot it’s lights out!
I will sleep soundly with a stomach full of whatever ungodly concoction Sas has created out of our abundance of non-perishables. I’d never think to mix a can of broccoli soup with a Knorr rice side and a sprinkle of potato flakes but it came out strangely delicious. I have spent the last couple of months hanging just on the edge of food poisoning but apparently, the iron gut of my beloved has rubbed off on me.
I expect to snooze my way into 2022 smelling of campfire smoke and dotted with bits of pine straw dust but feeling clean as a whistle thanks to my ‘nature spa,’ or if we’re being honest the outdoor dumpster tub. Even my Sas was surprised at how quickly I took to that whole scenario. There’s nothing happier than coming home after a long day and soaking in that pine straw broth while avoiding the hidden hot spots assuring at least a second-degree burn. You have your hot tub...I’ll take mine literally.
I am fully prepared to awake in this new year with a flash. A hot flash.
I know that while you and yours are outside bundled against the predicted cold, detonating fireworks and celebrating the exit of the second-worst year in the history of the 2000s, I will be shedding blankets and tossing kittens and profanities. Blessed are those who have traveled, and survived, this age-old path before me but I don’t understand how the female population doesn’t just die off as soon as menopause hits. Nothing brings me closer to a self-inflicted demise than a 2 a.m. heatwave and I’m pretty sure old Sas over there is ready to feed me to the wild hogs ‘cause my attitude is something fierce!
I heard you, by the way, my attitude wasn’t ALWAYS like that.
My terror of repetition has faded. I am no longer afraid that I might accidentally be stuck in another year like this has been.
If I wake up in 2022 and have another year living in my tin-can camper, I will still be content. I will be uncomfortable. I will be claustrophobic. I will ruin pajama pants because that toilet is just not feasible! Yet I will still notice that ball of anxiety disappear every day as I scritch and scratch my way down my deep woods driveway.
If I must repeat this year I will still take joy in watching my herd of furballs thrive in the forest. I know that no horrible neighbor will take them from me with sweet-smelling poisons and late-night bullets. I rest in the comfort of knowing I’ll never have to rescue my baby’s remains from a highway because some speed racer didn’t feel the need to break, or honk, or stop and tell us what they’d done.
I will gladly repeat a lifetime of these years, celebrating every good moment with my beloved Sasquatch, crying over losses, stressing over one thing or another, laughing at his horrible, inappropriate jokes, or fighting about a million ridiculous things. We will scream and curse. We will ignore each other on occasion. We will pout and piss and moan to no end. But boy will we love.
We will love our solitude. We will love our forest and our creek.
I will love quiet afternoons under the canopy reading. He will love interrupting my quiet afternoons under the canopy with his rendition of some song on one of the seven harmonicas he got for his birthday. Excuse me, mouth harps.
We will love breezes through open windows and doors. We will love the smell of burning pine straw and meat on the grill because we have no other way to cook it. We will love silence.
We will love our lack of anxiety and how living this taxing and uncomfortable lifestyle has been the healthiest thing we’ve ever done.
Amber Lollar is the senior reporter for The Henderson News. Her e-mail address is <firstname.lastname@example.org>.© 2021, Henderson Newspapers Inc.