The two couples that come over with their young children for brunch have left. The dishwasher is running.
Chicago's watery afternoon light begins to weaken.
The Bears are winning a final, meaningless regular-season game. The town's other teams are mired in mediocrity. Baseball is nowhere in sight.
A host of tasks cries silently to me from my desk.
Outside my study, remnants of December's 17 inches of snow sweats off the asphalt shingles of the mansard roof.
The router on my desk blinks and winks.
I sit and look out the window at the sclerotic tree branches, the deserted office park, the fat and frantic squirrels high-wiring across the backyard fence.
Five cardboard cartons of old papers stare at me from beneath the study windows.
Oldest Daughter sings to herself as she primps for another evening out.
My Mexico tan itches and peels and flakes; I feel like Gabe's gekko, when it turns pale and frosted-looking and sheds its bumpy skin. But that happens in the Spring, an eternity from now.
May clarity come to you, and to me, and to us all. Speedily.
And may we put that clarity to good and lasting use.
Happy New Year.