For me the year ends in June, and winter is not the beginning but a divide between the semesters of which a year is composed. Summer is a strange period in which time is suspended, a vast meadow with knee-high yellow grass when I’m staring at the page of a book and a beach with warm teal waters when I’m lying in bed. The year begins again in fall. It begins, though it never ended, because summer doesn’t mark a beginning or end. The end of summer is both.
I never write New Year’s resolutions, in January or otherwise. I vaguely recall attempting the exercise against my will; I must have been forced with an assignment sometime in grade school. Instead I decidedly drew a map of the world, with Antarctica at the top, “upside down”, meticulously labeled, and only colored in the water. I was convinced I would ruin it if I colored in the land. Somehow it was never quite as beautiful.
“You know, they say that symmetry was invented by humans,” I told the boy next to me as I drew Russia, “because nothing is perfectly symmetrical in nature. But I think there must be something symmetrical somewhere. Or else everything in math is based on things that are made-up. That’s why math is hard. Except shapes. This is a triangle; it has infinite triangles inside. Did you know those trees outside never stop being green? I keep waiting for them but they never do. Do you think that’s a secret?”
“I think grown-ups know,” he replied.
“Oh,” I said, disappointed.
I remember this conversation, but not how I managed to get away without turning in a resolution. Needless to say, I had failed to focus on writing one, which is just as well, because I would have failed to keep it—the same way I cannot maintain a schedule regardless of how much I need one.
And I’m not so much a fan of writing things I don’t mean.
I know what I need to do: daydream less, edit my own writing even though I’m afraid I’ll cringe at it, stop being so anxious, daydream less, take notes without drawing in the margins, daydream less—
But I possibly can’t stop. I was never the organized type no matter how hard I tried, and I always resented when anyone would assert that organization shows care. I care very deeply about everything I can’t organize. But as much as I’m disorganized, and as much as I can’t write resolutions, I’m somehow a great writer of lists.
So to start off the new year here is a list of 20 of the most beautiful words (in the English language):
Bittersweet pleasant and regretful
Chiaroscuro an arrangement of light and darkness
Crescendo music with wings
Crestfallen sunken hearted
Cunnilingus (because when I first heard this word I thought it was a language)
Eloquence stunning in speech
Evanescent swiftly vanishing, fleeting
Evocative suggestive of memory or feeling
Gossamer delicate veil
Mondegreen product of mishearing
Procellous stormy like the sea
Sensual arousing to the senses
Serenity regal peace
Syncopation a shift in the expected accent
Velocity swiftness, speed
Velvet a sensuous fabric
Zephyr a light wind
And here are a couple of things I enjoyed:
Who’d you kiss?