"Oh, it's all good," I reply, "except that work is too hard, and looks like it will be for at least a year. You can see what i'm doing: My own project is an index, grant-driven. My boss's project, which is driving me nuts because it uses time I feel I need for my grant, is the capturing of 'local documents.'
"The aim is to capture online planning documents from cities' and counties' websites and archive them, becuase the governments themselves often forget to. Once there is a new edition, the old one is often lost to the public.
"I'm documenting our efforts with a huge intranet full of dates and links. Every time we go to a website, or make a capture, or write metadata, we date our action and link the date to the source or the product accordingly.
"The family seems to be doing ok. Rough things have happened at Beloved's job and she is using her down time to recover from shock and depression.
"Our two youngest (19 and 22) stayed over for Christmas Eve and got their old stockings in the morning. It was a quiet and lovely time. They are off to a rock concert tonight and Beloved and I are going to some sort of Jungian rite-of-passage followed by a potluck. I'm doing walnut/raisin bread and she's about to start on a rhubard cobbler and I can tell we are going to squabble over the oven.
"I'm supposed to get my surgery letters on the 6th. Should that prove to be the case, I can set a date with the surgeon, which should be during Spring Break."
"The creek is over its banks and I can hear it rumbling without my hearing aid. There have been four inches of rain in three days. We plan to be cautious in venturing out tonight."
A box of gifts has just arrived from one, much dearer than a friend, who lives a continent away. Though she has many troubles, she has taken time to think over each amazing item, and wrap with care. It goes straight to the heart. Already I am wearing the black earrings, which came on the very day that I planned to dress in black for the evening, knowing I had not quite the right earrings to do so. She has set me a task along with the gifts, which is perhaps the great gift itself, and I will accept it.
I am supposed to give away something of my old self tonight; that should be easy: a book of poems written by the former me (I think that my transition is more literal than that of the others who will be there, but I believe the book will be accepted graciously. One never knows what others have been through, or what will speak to them). One must also supply a poem or other thoughts, on paper, to be read to and distributed to all present, to mark that passing of the year and the renewal of one's spirit. Thus:
What am I being asked to release? What am I being called toward?
I might write this:
When I was gravely ill,
I lost my looks.
I had been late in
coming by them, being risa
fifty and six returns
of the year, and so
was sad to see them gone.
I'm better, now,
I think --
ready to be woman
that was, so briefly, girl.
like short Springs,
belong to the Wind.