This year I did not make a SINGLE New Year’s Resolution. Mainly because I was too mad on account of the fact that I tested positive for Covid on New Years Eve. And SO for the SECOND year in a row my favorite night of the year was messed up by illness. Though this year I only had the sniffles and mostly just stopped eating Spokane for a few days because I couldn’t taste or smell as opposed to last year when I was thrust into a half coma by the black plague of death, A.K.A, the flu (old news) that was NOT conquered by the only flu shot I have ever received (it came with a $10 grocery coupon so I was enticed). Despite being vaccinated, I was nearly taken into the afterlife until I was prescribed a big old magic bottle of codeine cough syrup that sent me into a narcotic induced dream world for three blissful nights.
Anyhow, I was pissed off and having to deal with a microcosm of society in my large household with several differing views on what should happen now that I had COVID and no one else did (nor did they ever get it, as of this post). So I just went to bed and binge watched Netflix, drinking hot lemon water laced with cayenne pepper, my cure for everything that ails me, until it was too late to make any kind of New Year’s resolutions. At first, I figured there was no sense trying to set any expectations when I was probably going to die from the sniffles. And then when I realized I was going to survive, the year was already damaged and practically over by the time I emerged from my bedroom, done with my two day long temper tantrum.
And then I just got busy doing my life.
Fast forward to the 19th of January when I had the house to myself for a few hours and thought, “Well this is as good of a day as any to at LEAST say goodbye to some 2020 unhealthy attachments, bad habits and false stories I’ve been telling myself” and decided to do a burning ritual, which I have always found to be rather satisfying and self-soothing even though I’m not an Avatar. I wrote down on paper all the harmful things, thoughts and unhealthy attachments I’d been packing around in an over-sized metaphoric suitcase: about twenty pages worth (I’m a writer people!) and then burned the shit out of them. It’s a good thing no one was in the house. The smoke was very thick. I opened the window and it billowed out in thick plumes. Interestingly enough a fire truck drove down the street, sirens and all, as I was lighting page ten on fire and I froze for a second to gather what my explanation would be if the fire department had indeed been called by the neighbors. But they didn’t stop. So I didn’t have to explain the bonfire in my mulling bowl and carried on until all of my past bullshit was nothing but a bowl of ashes. Heavy burdens they were. I’m still coughing a little.
I put all of the ashes into an envelope and sealed it with the intent that I would scatter them in some ceremonious manner somewhere, like on the graves of my enemies or since I don’t really have any (dead) enemies perhaps in the backyard on my flower beds, and placed it at the top of the bill pile on my desk so I wouldn’t forget the final step of my ritual.
Before I knew it, two days had passed but I kept staring at that nasty envelope as if it were a stranglehold on 2021. I needed to rid myself completely of the ashes so I could make room for new and different anxieties and unhealthy attachments! So I put the envelope in my coat pocket and headed out to the trail with my dog Bella to sprinkle them into the forest. I figured the ashes would be bad for my flowerbeds. They have a tough enough time with me as their guardian.
We got caught up in the beauty of the late afternoon winter day: 40 degrees, mostly clear sky and a glorious sunset forming. Bella was running all around the trail, unleashed and free, smelling every inch with deep satisfaction, never going too far out of my peripheral vision. I started daydreaming about spring being very near and how lovely it was to have it be light out at 4:30 pm knowing full well that February would now probably have record snowfall because of my thoughts of an early spring and decided that would be okay too. Then I remembered the ashes envelope in my pocket and almost started limping from the load. (Like Frodo only taller and more self absorbed.) I abruptly tore it open and tossed the ashes behind me with undramatic 2020 fuckoffery.
Then Bella came up by my side in solidarity. “Bella. What do you say we make this year awesome despite my slow start in positivity?”
I glanced down at her pretty brown face. Her bottom teeth were sticking out and her head was tilted to the side as she gazed up at me in a look that said “WTF you weirdo lunatic?” and I realized that ALL the ashes I’d flung with reckless abandonment were all over her face in a gray mask. She promptly sneezed, shooting a gust of ash out her nose.
“Oh GIRL! I’m so sorry!” I said to her as I hastily tried to wipe my toxic ashes off her. I ended up with streaks all over my mittens and coat and a bit had fallen on my boots, as though all of the regrets of 2020 wanted to cling to me like a rejected lover.
Bella was now full on smiling at me, probably from all my dramatic fuss-petting and silly boot stomping, the ash incident already forgotten by her. Dogs have the saintly ability to move on from things so much faster than most of us humans. They don’t need crazy rituals to clear a path for the present. They just hang out in the “Here and Now” where it’s rich with treasure. I started giggling with delight and was soon howling with laughter, filled up once again with the right stuff, my path cleared by a dust covered dog.