A Blank Page
I was staring at this blank page, without a clue what to write this week. And then it struck me—the blank page actually is the subject. Over and over in each of our lives, we begin anew with a blank page, awaiting something to be written. We are born with nothing more than nakedness and the smiles of our parents to warm us, welcome us, into this world. Our lungs fill with air as we take that first breath, with millions of breaths that will follow that first. But the first is always the FIRST and it’s always extra special. The first time a baby scoots on all fours and actually moves from one place to another—the first steps a toddler takes. Year after year, we experience a multitude of “do-overs” —and with each new beginning or an attempt to try something new and different, we have written on a blank page a message that is ingrained into our DNA experience bank. Eventually they add up—the pages multiply with new chapters being written, purged, rewritten, examined and edited—until our personal novel has been created, ready to be read cover to cover.
I well remember the first time I got behind the wheel with my stern and uncompromising driving instructor sitting beside me. My task had been to accomplish that dreaded maneuver—parallel parking. Trying not to smash into the front vehicle while still avoiding the rear one, at the same time watching out for oncoming traffic from behind—yet I was more aware of grumpy Mr. Keller than anything else, as he took on the countenance of George Washington staring out from Mount Rushmore. As I inched into the sandwich created by the black Pontiac in front and the sky blue Volkswagen Beetle in back, I glanced over at Mr. Keller. He stared straight ahead, the corners of his mouth turned upward into a smirk, as he slammed on his instructor’s brake with nary a word uttered. Sweat began to rise on my forehead as I inched forward again, when Keller’s foot slammed on the brake yet again, sending my fellow students careening into whiplashed jerks. I had no clue WHY Keller was braking my every attempt to park the whale of a car—I assumed I MUST be doing something wrong, yet Keller gave me no clue what it was. Somehow I got through that horrid experience—but to this day, when the need arises to parallel park, I can still see in my mind’s eye Keller’s smirk taunting me with every maneuver. My grandson Khristian, age 15, will soon be undertaking his first drivers education class and driving instruction—he too will write on his blank page as he encounters this rite of passage.
Firsts—our first kiss—our first date–the first time we rode a bicycle—the first day of school. That special first boy friend or girl friend we had, who we never really quite get over. Our first car. Mine was a Plymouth Valliant, light blue, an automatic, with nifty push buttons up on the dashboard! My first car didn’t last long, it had a host of mechanical issues–but it was my FIRST, so of course it was quite special. The first time you spent away from your family—your first camping adventure—the first time you flew in an airplane!
Each time I go south of the border, it feels like a ‘first’—I tend to get a tiny knot in my stomach as I approach the military check post at the junction of Highways 5 with 3, even though I have never had any problems with the military, and I know they are there for my safety and protection, not to harass me. Still, I admit it, I’m a little intimidated by these camouflage-dressed soldiers holding assault weapons. Each time the turquoise Sea comes into view as I round that certain curve in the highway, it’s as if I see it for the first time—like a mirage shimmering in the sunshine as the blue horizon meets the Sea. I fall in love all over again when I see San Felipe’s iconic lighthouse against the backdrop of blue Sea, sky and brown barren island mounds.
Each time I drive up the driveway of my country home in Northern California, I still swell with immense pleasure as I gaze upon the deer, wild turkeys, fox, and other wild critters that wander over my landscape. That ole Home Sweet Home feeling takes hold every time.
So many ‘firsts’, with each one writing a paragraph or a chapter in our personal novel. That is what is so unique and wonderful about each New Years Day—a new beginning, with a clean slate. The pounds we’d resolved to lose the year before, but for whatever reason, didn’t—-the decision to be more organized and clean out the clutter, yet somehow much of it creeps back into the house and garage—the intention to finish up some project long ago put off. All those unaccomplished resolutions can be erased and begun anew with the optimism and blush of the New Year.
I love New Years Day! With January 1, it brings the beginning of a new year, and the promise of starting over—a fresh slate to write on. There are new ‘firsts’ to experience, with new chances to pick up the pieces of unfinished projects from the year before. . . a new beginning to right a wrong, to sow some oats, to renew a friendship, to find or rekindle love.
On this New Years Day, I’m not going to look behind me nor dwell on the past—it is over and gone. Instead, I want to look ahead and beyond, to dreams and goals as yet unfulfilled. I want to try something I’ve never done before—as simple as checking out a new restaurant in San Felipe, or to go down a road I’ve passed a hundred times before and see where it really goes. Perhaps we’ll check out that band at Jolly Mon or finally explore the thermal pools down by Puertocitos. Perhaps take that hot air balloon ride I’ve long dreamed of experiencing. Most of all, I want to spend more time with the people I most care about, sharing lots of ‘firsts’ with them.
What will you be writing on YOUR blank page this New Year? What new paragraph, new chapter, in your personal novel will you be writing in 2012?!