Sneachd is Gaelic for snow. I wonder if the Scottish Gaels once used more words than this, because the snow that's been hanging around for the past three weeks is as sundry and curious as Highlanders themselves. It comes in bursts and stays long enough to coat the ground and to soak those caught outside. It comes in quarter-sized poufs, tiny pellets, icy spikes and wandering clumps. It plunges or gently sinks. I floats sideways and whirls haphazardly. It's in charge here.
The quintessentially British phenomenon of endless discussion of weather has risen to an alarming high since the start of the havoc in mid-December. Every news bulletin is about road closures and travel disruption. Every newspaper headline hints at The Big Freeze. It's amusing, and reminds us that nature is asserting herself, making sure we don't get complacent. Deal with it, mortal humans. Harden yourselves a bit. Don't go to work; go outside and make a snowman. Play. Take time off. Deal with it.
Christmas was good. It's M's birthday too, so I made red velvet birthday cake and we had other homeless friends around for Christmas lunch. The Inverness Hogmanay celebrations were cancelled because of the weather, so the evening was spent with friends, capped by a traipse through the streets with M on the bagpipes while sitting in a wheelbarrow. I like the concept of New Year's Eve. It's a day full of hope.
Resolutions are tiresome, but necessary. I will smugly say I reached nearly every resolution from last year: I wrote a novel and got it to my agent by December (23rd, but still!), got married, got the flat remodeled, got my UK driving license. I didn't lose the 30 lbs that I wanted to lose; instead, I began to be grateful for a healthy body that functions reasonably well. I didn't travel as much as I wanted to; instead, I tried to remember that I'm living in one of the most beautiful regions in the world. So much of resolution-ing is in outlook and intention.
So...for 2010, I'm taking the karmic route. Since moving to Scotland, I've met so many inspiring people who have donated their time and ideas to me. I've been lucky to have a day job that allows me the time to write and a partner who believes in me. The generosity of the various Scottish writing and book organizations is peerless. And finding this sort of support requires proactive thinking and behavior.
In that vein, I hope in 2010 that the Literary Salon can bring this sort of solidarity and inspiration to other Highland writers. That's resolution #1, that I give back some of the encouragement and positivity that I've received, via the Lit Salon and my writing group and by reading friends' stories and novels and offering constructive critiques.
The second is to finish: revising the Portugal novel and finishing the Switzerland novel. Both are in various stages of disorder, and I owe it to their muses to get them ready for the world. This includes keeping on my weekly word count expectations and letting it flow rather than revising as I go.
And the third: less disposable, more quality. More yoga. More focus. More time outdoors. More gratefulness. More positivity. More joy.
This year could bring another move; M's job ends in August, and then we must decide. If we go, I will miss this view, watching the seasons and the skies and the birds from my writing table in our lounge. If we stay, I will be grateful to live near mountains, sea, and unparalleled beauty.
Bliahdna Mhath Ur. Happy new year.