The Bog of Lost Scholars

January 1, 2011

A New Year’s Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — castiron @ 1:31 am

On New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, someone comes to every house.

Maybe it’s an angel, a messenger of God. Maybe it’s a brownie, or another one of the Fair Folk. Maybe it’s the old woman from countless tales who judges the young traveller. Maybe it’s a sentient being arising from radio waves. Maybe it’s the ghost of one of your ancestors — a woman who learned in a hard school and later became its teacher.

Whoever it is, someone comes to every house and inspects.

Under the chests and behind the television. In the drawers and in your hard drives. On the top shelf of the closet and in the bottom drawer of the desk. In that corner of the fridge where leftovers go to die. Over the toilet and in front of the stove.

That shelf in the utilities room that holds carpet left by the house’s previous owners and the eggshells from seventy-two baby lizards. That box in the closet that holds the present you forgot to give to one of your friends. That pile behind the sofa where your missing library book is. Someone looks at all of it.

Now, some people say that the visitor expects a perfect house before they’ll bestow their blessings on the next year. If the past year’s dirt is under the rug, or the past year’s dishes on the counter, or the past year’s laundry mildewing in the washing machine, or the past year’s bills sitting unpaid, then someone will bring you more dirt, more mess, more trouble.

But if someone sees a perfect house, everything in order, everything clean, everything incapable of improvement, why should someone bestow a blessing where it’s clearly not needed?

No, someone isn’t looking for perfection. Someone is looking for good.

The dishes are piled by the sink, but the guests are enjoying food and drink.

The bathroom tiles need scrubbing, but there is a full roll of toilet paper.

The files are full of old papers, but the shelves are full of beloved books.

The checking account is near empty, but it is balanced.

The laundry is piled up, but the baby creating the laundry is being rocked and sung to.

And someone looks at what has been done out of what could be done, and someone smiles, and someone leaves a blessing.

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