End of the year. How did we get here? Growing up my father and I often made fun of my mother for saying “I can’t believe it’s . . insert holiday, season, birthday, etc.” As I get older I understand the quickening of time, the sudden feeling of days passing and seasons disappearing and approaching. This year has been life-changing for me, though not many examples of outward change but so many good changes on the inside. A year of ending friendships, relationships, and healing conversations. Time has brought me to a new place. And I am not the same person I was last December 28th. That’s the goal isn’t it? We get better every year. Aging is wisdom; there are new things to create, old ways to let go of, and some paths diverge while others remain.
And while I was working the craziness of holiday retail I continued on the path of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The Subtle Knife is the second in the series. I fell in love with Lyra and her world when I read The Golden Compass. With witches named Serafina Pekkala and Iorek Byrnison, the armored bear and trusted friend, I climbed into Pullman’s world, making my everyday reality a little more magical. When I picked up The Subtle Knife and looked at the list of chapters, Among the Witches, The Tower of Angels and the Shaman, among others, I was sold. I’ve been living in Pullman’s world for the better part of December and it is a dream, sometimes dark and then filled with amazing wisdom and light. Here’s a bit of Lyra’s brush with danger in a world unlike her own.
It was much harder for Lyra now than it had been even in the Arctic, on the way to Bolvangar, for then she’d had the gyptians and Iorek Byrnison with her, and even if the tundra was full of danger, you knew the danger when you saw it. Here, in the city that was both hers and not hers, danger could look friendly, and treachery smiled and smelled sweet; and even if they weren’t going to kill her or part her from Pantalaimon, they had robbed her of her only guide. Without the alethiometer, she was . . just a little girl, lost.
And one of my favorite Nick Drake songs for the end of the year . .