Kage Baker was a little leery of the first few days of any new year. She didn’t like to leap in with both feet and no caution; she felt the entire enormous span of the next year should be approached delicately. Even suspiciously.
When she learned of the Mayans’ tendency to assign a certain number of days at the turning of the year as a dead zone – to avoid activity and new enterprises while the annual clock got its act together for another ratchet – she felt that was really the most careful thing to do. Who knows what could happen? Maybe cosmic dragons would decide to come eat the Moon. Maybe the dark eye of the galactic center – where we now know the black hole Sagittarius A lurks, eating light and roughly midwifing stars – would open full and stare into our collective soul.
Maybe the Big One would hit. For Angelinos who lived through the quakes of 1971 and/or 1994, the mountains dancing are never far from our minds.
Anyway,she liked to take it quietly. For decades, of course, we had to return to school or work shortly after the New Year; Kage kept things low-key by returning in body only, wandering through the first week or so in a stated of somnambulism. When she retired to write full time, it was of course much easier – she just curled up in her armchair with her Christmas stocking full of sweeties, and watched movies.
I’ve got to admit, since I too retired and moved back to Los Angeles, I much prefer Kage’s way. Now is absolutely the time to eat leftover prime rib and ham; to munch steadily through the seasonal sweeties, and read your Christmas Book, and nap in the short, silver afternoons. It helps, of course, that this is the time of year when Los Angeles gets its coldest weather – it hits near to 32 at night and seldom gets above 55 in the day. There is frost on the lawn, on the cars, on the lights still hanging. One wakes up under cats, which is extremely warm and fuzzy, and spends the day wrapped in lap robes. I do, anyway.
I used to be fairly immune to cold weather – and yeah, I realize our dry California cold hardly compares to what the rest of you have to endure, but this is as cold as we get here in the Basin, and it’s bad. Kage literally spent her days in her sleeping bag, with lap robes and shawls layered on top, and a hoodie sweatshirt over her shirt. Harry slept in the hood, nestled in her hair.
Due to my habitual indolence at this time of year, I haven’t got a lot to say right now. I will observe that today is the birthday of such gently opposed people as James Ussher and Isaac Newton, Jacob Grimm and Max Eastman, Admiral George Tryon and Col. Tom Thumb, and a really unnecessary number of football and rugby players. Tomorrow is 12th Night, and we will change out the lights and green boughs in the house.
And in 2 days it will be a year since assorted goons, minions, fanatics and anarchists tried to overthrow the American government. I think I will try to snatch a little more peace and quiet before then, just in case things go all wahooni-shaped. Again. It’s nerve-wracking, wondering what will happen and what the rest of us will have to do about it …
In the meantime, please forgive my winter indolence. Stay warm, stay safe, stay careful.