A large, brown bean bag absorbs me, accepts my recline on the den floor. Timer tuned purple hues of Fraser fir lights wrap into flickering firelight and entwine with warm tentacles curling my feet and slipping under the owl-adorned fleece.  The fir nearly hides the old cuckoo clock, its tick-tock metronoming a second gone, a second coming.  Tick-tock-tick farewell, tock a knock.  New year comes, up the block. Nuthatch pecks on icy snow top – sleek black head and pure white bib, grey feathers fluffed like a sailboat jib. Into the shrub, another joins, up-tick, down-tock pops with brown bare branches hops. And still the pendulum, steady for 26 years, clacking a cuckoo’d song each 1800 half hour ticks, polka-ing another when the hour closes at 3600 tocks.  Begin again, Poe’s “Telltale Heart” not maddening, but persistently pushing time along, tell-tale song of an old year gone.

I doze some, comfort in the snoozy snugness, awake to night, decorations bright.  Thickening-to-snow rain pelts, tries to leave welts on the pains of my think, the panes of dripping glass.  Old Glory snaps, the porch-mounted pole pushing eerie groans through the side wall of home.  Its shadows haunt the corner.  I curl a bit to feel much warmer.  Something about alone on December 31, harbinger of yet another tock coming, dripping away the 31,536,000 tick-tocks of a year gone.  I laugh at the mental math, surprised if it’s accurate and not about to calculator check the tick times tock times number in a day times days in a year, not to mention a leap year tick tocking extra February moments and getting all that logic in this wintered imagination moment.  That made me weary, but chased the teary of poor me alone on the wide, wide Mariner sea of “why me?”.  I could list the families, friends, former families, acquaintances, and bump intos along my pathway of days who feel the surety of time’s toll.  But this night, born from a doze of building blues, does not bring any sad.  The tick of Christmas just passed and the tock of coming spring blooms – tomorrow’s Cardinal pecking frozen tree berries and a Blue Jay craw-scrawing “that’s mine” from the crabapple branch -.  If I but choose to see, there sits the joy awaiting me. In this second, this tock, not tick, I find an imagined door tucked in the wall across the moor oozing “things lost” and “sadnesses that cost”.   I won’t wearily face the steps into 2019.  A stray strand of light illumes remembered writings, offers insight:

Thousand Steps- NewSong

“If there were a thousand steps between [me] and God
And [I] could see no way across the great divide
Just take one step towards His loving arms
And He’ll take nine hundred and ninety-nine.”

Well, the clock cuckoo sings on the midnight hour and the first tocks of the New Year, a tick gone, a tock to come.  A decoration on my HP Printer, “The Christmas Door”, offers lines I will carry bound in thinks when I stuff my hands in the back pockets of my Wranglers with comfort fit waist band:

“…Ten thousand angels came
And filled the midnight sky
They sang a sort of Christmas Carol
That gave me cause to celebrate…
‘Make room, make room,
Make room right now
Don’t worry, it’s not too late.’”

The Nuthatch gone, the Cardinal somewhere at rest, and the Blue Jay nastily nagging the nightfall, I opt for the cozy coverlet atop the just firm enough mattress.  I’ll stay dressed – save time New Year’s Day when I must rise to insistent cat calls and prepare breakfast in rhythm with tick-tock, 7 o’clock.