The year thus far

lover's oath, by marfis75 on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

I’m keeping promises to myself, day by day. Keeping myself accountable to a plan that will have me achieving certain things in a certain period of time (but always, always allowing for things not to go quite the way I intended). As has always been the case with me, progress isn’t linear — it always comes in fits and starts. I’m not a worker bee. I’m more like Frederick, the dreamy mouse in the children’s book by Leo Lionni, who doesn’t help the other mice gather nuts and corn for winter. He sits around and as an excuse for not pitching in, he says he is also storing up for winter – words, “for the winter days are long and many, and we will run out of things to say.”

At least that’s how I’ll chalk up today, leaving laundry in suspended animation all over my bedroom while I first went to an exercise class and then the gym, then came home and spent the rest of the afternoon working on building up my fledgling translation business. Speaking of which…

Next move.

Today I saw a mockup of the packaging for a DVD for which I translated a essay, and got a check in the mail the same day for my work. I was feeling pretty good by dinnertime, even though our cupboards were fairly bare and the leftovers we’d projected would feed the whole family were barely enough for two growing boys. Note to self: Having leftovers now means make a double batch of whatever you want to be left over.

I feel torn between extremes these days, anxious about what is ahead for our nation even as I see that progress eventually can arrive. Last Friday I took the boys to see the beautiful new Second Avenue Subway stations, the first three to open since the line was proposed decades ago. I was surprised and then amused to see the New York State motto on the beams:

Ever upwards.

That’s a funny thing to put above a stairway, after all. On the other side, the beams are emblazoned with E PLURIBUS UNUM. We can be a little cynical, and say these words are there to acknowledge State and Federal funds that went towards the construction of the new stations. But I will prefer to think of them as reminders: Of unity, which I hope may yet be possible, even if we don’t know the form it will take. Of always aiming upwards (even when you’re descending to catch a train). Of Latin, the language of the gravitas we as a nation so badly need to reclaim, and the root of the three languages I’m looking towards to form a new career.

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