2012, just the place to bury a crock of gold…

As I type this, I’m sitting beside a window, still in my pajamas, drinking coffee.  On the other side of the window, Mose and Lew are playing “football” with their dad.  I can hear them all hooting and screaming and running.  At one point a little while ago, they “paused the show” to catch a snake.  The snake is now inside, with me.   In a box. Poor snake.

It’s an afternoon, a sunday breezy afternoon. In Atlanta.  Tonight the temperature will drop and we’ll make a fire, maybe order a pizza.  Tomorrow I’ll try to get to work again.  I have a book to finish.


Can I say this, without bringing the wrath of the fates down on my own head? Can I say that all is well, that I’ve never been so content in my life?  That this is the sort of happy-island-of-time I imagine people look back on, when they get older, and remember with a halo, a golden glow.  These are sweet years, honey years.  Time to breathe, to relax, to make work and feel hopeful.

Still climbing, but now a little slower up the hill… with a little more time to notice the view.

There’s a scene in Brideshead Revisited (a book I quote far too often) where Sebastian and Charles are sitting in the grass, and Sebastian says, ‘I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I was old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.’

I’ve always loved those lines, but I think for a loooooooong time I loved them as exotica. I couldn’t really imagine feeling that calm myself. I was always looking for BIG, for LOUD, for NEW, for things that trembled and threatened and promised danger or emotion or huge experience.  The things that made me happiest were usually in the past or the future. I never sat still enough to notice them in the now.

But. Now.

Now is now.

Now I’m older. Life feels different, and ta-dah! I’m there, suddenly sitting in the grass! It’s this year, this place.  “Just the place to bury a crock of gold.” The fact that I’m present enough to notice my happiness is maybe the greatest gift, for a girl like me (which is to say a woman like me).

I’m really happy right now. I am.  I have work to do, that I love. I have a healthy happy family. I have friends and a neighborhood that brings me joy.  I have books to read and tea to drink and bourbon in a glass, when I want it.  I am full.

And though my house is small, though it would be nice to have a second bathroom, or family in the area. Though I worry about paying for the boys to go to college, and about my own health a little. Though it would be nice to finish this book tomorrow, or have a flash of genius about a bestselling picture book series… each time I get a chance to wish (a star, a candle) lately, I only  ever wish for things to stay. Just stay.  Like this.

Of course, that’s folly.  Because things can’t stay, ever. Things have to change.  That’s why a girl might need to bury a crock of gold.  Because alongside joy there is always awareness: when you are truly contentedly happy, you are only waiting for the end of that particular moment.


But today I don’t feel it, that knowledge.  I have it, know it, but I don’t feel it.  I don’t feel worried or superstitious or anything else but good.

It is a new year, 2012, and I’m beginning it with joy and calm and excitement.  My kids are amazing. I have a book to finish writing, and new ideas to begin thinking about.  Chris and I are reading George RR MArtin and making silly jokes to each other, about dragons and swords.  Our house is snug and the ground beneath it feels sturdy.

And for now, the weather…  is holding.

So I want to leave you with this, a little O’Hara.

Happy New Year!  May your weather hold.

For Grace, After A Party

    You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn't
         me, it was love for you that set me

      and isn't it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
                                   writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
isn't there
              an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed?  And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn't
                   you like the eggs a little

different today?
                 And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
is holding.


9 Responses to “2012, just the place to bury a crock of gold…”

  1. Debra Moffitt Says:

    Reading lovely writing is the best way to start the new year. Well done.

  2. Mom Says:

    What a wonderful New Year’s Day entry.
    AND I love love love the poem.
    This kind of moment is the best thing life has to offer, honey.

  3. Shari Green Says:

    What a lovely post. It’s a good thing to be able to say “all is well” (and mean it) — contentment is a beautiful thing. I’m usually content — maybe that’s thanks in part to getting older — but of course life is difficult sometimes, and then there’s a quote I try to embrace: All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. (Julian of Norwich)

    Thanks for this post. :)

  4. Amanda Hoving Says:

    So happy that you’re so happy. Life can be delicious sometimes — even (and especially) within the everyday routines. Happy New Year!

  5. Paula Says:

    This post just made my day : )
    Your contentment is inspiration to those who need it, thanks for sharing!

  6. KDuBayGillis Says:

    As always, beauty in your words, Laurel.

  7. Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    Such a beautiful post! (found you via @amandahoving tweet) As a new empty nester, I look back on your current days as just that — the sweet years, the honey years! Wonderful times! I loved Brideshead Revisited too, and I say this: bury your crock of gold now.

  8. Rebecca Says:

    WHAT a lovely post. And I get just this, just what you’re feeling. These are the golden days. And it gets better and better. I have a calm now that I’ve never had before and it’s lovely, worth all the whirling and writhing to get here.

  9. Venessa Ann Schwarz Says:

    I want to be brave enough to say, feel, be all those things you so beautifully described. The saddest thing a person can do…in my humble opinion…is to live those special moments without embracing them. Allowing them to go by, without acknowledging them. Loved reading your sweet sentiments. They inspire me!

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