We are staying inside tonight as 2016 ends; no New Year’s revelry for us, unless you count Tony’s exquisite repair of my beaded wooden prayer bracelet. That was a rockin’ good time.
Seriously. Do you know how awesome it is to be married to a man who can fix anything?
It seems necessary to recognize this turn of the page this evening; more so than in year’s past, I feel an obligation to acknowledge what was and look toward what is to come. It’s the chaos and tumult of the year, of course; it’s all that was lost, and all that has changed.
But it’s also the anticipation of something new, something unseen. In West Side Story, the arc of the entire plot line is set early on with “Something’s Coming”, a almost-perfect bit of dramatic songwriting. I know this song by heart, for two distinct reasons. One is Barbra Streisand’s 1985 Broadway album, which fueled my post-college passion for something to bridge the bizarre triangulation between Pat Metheny, Little Feat and Barry Manilow (among others). My taste ran eclectic and varied.
Anyway, Barbra sang the crap out of this song, and I belted it (the entire album in fact) every chance I got.
And I knew “Something’s Coming” well because while I lived in the Dominican Republic, we staged a performance of West Side Story in the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater – a show cribbed together with all the resources we could muster in that third-world country. I played the entire orchestral score on piano; we threw together a script gleaned from repeated viewings of the VHS tape of the show; costumes were homemade and spectacular. The kids were amazing – utterly amazing.
It was a wild, risky undertaking; at 24, I believed in this crazy idea and I threw all my energy into making it happen.
And it did.
/ / / /
Two things tug at my thoughts this evening; one comes as I turn my head, straining to see the girl I was at 24. Try as I might, I can’t quite connect…but I know what she did. I know how she lived. With what I know now about all that was to come, I’m amazed and impressed by her gall, her willingness to believe that anything could happen.
And as I squint my eyes to try to catch a glimpse of that girl, I see – right in front of me – my four eldest offspring, all circling that same age, all taking risks and living large and dreaming big. From a maternal perspective, I’m mostly cautious: Don’t go too far! Be careful! Take your time! Move slowly!
But secretly, I hope they run. I hope they try, and fail, and succeed, and struggle, and weep, and celebrate. I may never say that to their face – the maternal instinct looms large and leans, always, towards protection – but I hope deep inside of them they hear that call -and that they respond.
Could be – who knows? / There’s something due any day / I will know right away / soon as it shows
The second thing tugging – twisting, churning, yearning – is what might be coming for this second half of my own life. What risks lie ahead? Am I willing to embrace them? How much of that wild-eyed, faith-filled 24-year old is still within me – the one who believed anything could happen? How loudly does safety ring in the melodies I hear these days?
Could it be? Yes it could – something’s coming, something good / If I can wait…
I have a scripture for the New Year. I have this song. I am mulling this ‘choose a word’ business; having chosen one fairly definitively, I now hear another syllable on the raspy sounds of each breath I take, and I think I know what I have to do about that…
The air is humming….and something great is coming…
Come on, Twenty Seventeen. Let’s do this.