Another Year Begins

Another year begins.

Lately, I’ve been dreaming of being caught unprepared. I don’t have a setlist and can’t remember my songs. I’ve meant to spend the day practicing and preparing for the performance but have been kept busy by unimportant things and now it’s time to get on stage and I haven’t warmed up and have no idea what I’m going to play or what will come out of my mouth when I open it to sing. I suppose it’s telling that my anxiety is placed in the context of this thing I did for so long and no longer do.

What is life without all the things that change or are lost? One must invent new ways to enjoy the world as it is (even as it is). If I choose to spend my days staring at the tree outside my window, walking the dog, preparing a meal, then that is the life I make for myself. The pandemic has altered the parameters but it hasn’t eliminated choice entirely. Am I so afraid of dying that I make my world a neighborhood of six blocks, a dog’s love, a cat’s peculiar attentions? I’m not afraid of dying, so what is it? I see my father in myself. He who retreated from the world to a back room in his house. A vital man, a beautiful man, and much smarter than I will ever be. Did he run out of gas? Grow disillusioned? And have I inherited his disease, whatever it was?

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