New Year

Shadows of the year now gone stretch long in the setting sun as they strut and prance through orange willows one last time. Imposing slabs of ice have accumulated. It’s late. There isn’t much left to believe in.

“Seeing is believing,” God says in a teasing voice.

I don’t feel like being teased. Or loved. Or spoken to. The costs run too high. All around me, endings. Winter. The charred remains of fire and flood. Memorials planned, attended, forgotten.

“Fruitcake?” God asks, sliding a plate toward me. “Coffee? Beer?”

I glare.

“C’mon,” God says. “Get over yourself.”

“I AM over myself.” I straighten my spine and adjust my scarf. “And I’m over you.”

“Nope,” God says. “Neither.”

She’s right. I’ve bid the year goodbye, but it hasn’t disappeared. My body bears evidence of tenacity and time. There are debris piles chafing my soul, defiant streaks in my hair, and protests on the streets of failed and failing states. Star athletes are still on their knees. I would drop to mine in a nanosecond if it would further the cause of justice, but I’m not on the team. I don’t go to the games.

“Wrong again,” God says. “Everyone’s on the team. Even you, slugger. Here. Eat up.”

She pushes the holiday Chex mix toward me. I push back. She kneels and gives me a wide grin. Then she tips her head back and pours the entire bowl into her mouth. She chews obnoxiously loud, her tattooed hand rubs her ample black belly, and she sways back and forth, moaning as if the stale snack is the most delicious thing she’s ever tasted.

“You can stop now,” I say, laughing. “You’re ridiculous.”

“No!” she declares. “I’ll never stop.”

I shake my head.

She continues, “Honey, there will always be leftovers and reasons to drop to my knees. This is the communion of saints, the eternal transmutation, the saving of that which can be saved.”

“And what exactly can be saved?” I ask. But I know the answer. Nothing. Everything. God is energy, mass, and the speed of light. The maestro. The melody. Scientist and clown. I’ll never understand why she takes time to make me laugh, but I’m glad she partakes of leftovers with such gusto.

“Have a happy, blessed, sacred, holy, peaceful prosperous new year,” I say to God with a grin of surrender.

“Thanks,” God chuckles. “You crack me up.”

We link elbows, and the Magnificent, Unattainable God of Now waves the billions in. Together, we bid a sad farewell to that which will not come again and bravely greet that which is coming but will not last.

11 thoughts on “New Year

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