December is my most reflective month. The end of the year. Another trip around the sun for me. The first flakes of snow and bitter cold in the lungs.
Life quiets down and speeds up at the same time. The mayhem of the holidays mixed with cuddling in front of a fire with those you love.
You want to look to the future. To plan for the next year. Determine your three words, say all the things you are going to do, promise to make the next twelve months better than the last.
The only thing I know about 2018 is that the first months will be spent as a Visiting Professor at Wheaton College. Earlier this week I met with one of my students and I'm excited to be in the classroom again.
I also have a writing deadline at the end of February which is clearly in focus at the moment.
But, after that, there is nothing on the calendar. No major milestones. No contracts of work to do. A blank canvas.
That scares me. The lizard brain screams about impending doom. Then calmer instincts roll in and remind me that this is the path I walk. This is no different than past Decembers when I try to keep the two wolves balanced out and not let either of them feast.
Next week I'll receive the best birthday gift when my son returns from his first semester of college. I'm proud of the work he has put in this semester so far from home. The challenges he has faced and his own wolves that have howled at him as he grows into the man he wants to become.
There is nothing quite like clearing your head on a cold winter day. To take deep, meaningful breaths of air that sting your lungs. To be blinded by the sunlight off the sparkling white snow in front of you. To enjoy the stillness as a pond ices over before your eyes and the only noise is the whisper of the wind through the trees.
These moments are the ones I cherish. I stood for a long time looking out over a lake earlier this week. My photography plans for the day sidelined by technology, but being a roll with the moment guy I decided to use it to center myself a bit. To balance out the swirl of voices in my head and remind myself that everything finds a way to work out in the end.
A grin is on my face as I ponder how this might come across as sad, but I know it isn't. When I think back to several Decembers ago and the darkest days I've seen, I know this isn't sad. In fact, I am in the most upbeat of spirits.
There are so many opportunities ahead for all of us. From the sea of hate and frustration, I have to believe that enough joy rebels, radical artists and passion hits will rise to turn the tide to something good.
Spending the month of November working on my first novel that I set in the not so distant future allowed me to paint the worse case scenario based on our current climate. It was dark, disturbing and at times was painful for me to create.
Yet, even in the midst of this world I created, there was hope and life went on.
Life is going on right now. Babies are being born. Art is being created. Work is being done.
The whirlpool of anger can suck all of us in and all we will do is scream at the social streams we swim in too often. Taking even a few hours away from the screens and living will remind you that we don't need the constant guzzling of information.
Light snow falls outside my office window as the first light of morning arrives.
Today is another day.