The Cards of Life

I love all kinds of celebrations and New Year’s Eve is one of them. I am almost superstitious, believing that not celebrating that night might bring you bad luck.

Last year such a celebration took the form of a large party in our home with plenty of friends to warm up the coldest night of the year in Tucson. This year, after several months of racing with time to meet some important deadlines, I had the mood to celebrate the end of this year in “a bit” more glitzy way. So I persuaded David and a couple of friends to go (elegantly dressed) to one of the plushy resorts hidden in the foothills of Tucson’s Catalina Mountains that offered such a possibility. The fact that it promised to be a relatively inexpensive event and that one of my new “Jazz” friends, jazz musician George Howard, and his group would perform was a decisive factor.

The resort was surrounded with cool lights and we walked into the “Parisian night” theme of its lounge where the tables were decorated with red roses. The waiters in black and wearing characteristic French berets were cruising among the guests. Wow, that was exciting! I felt like a little kid ready for fun and adventure.

Lights for New Year's Eve

Lights and water, and Hello Paris

It was a night with the moon high in the sky and big stars on the ground (including George).

Stars, moon, George Howard

It was a night of elegant details in the clothing, which I found to be delightful.

Elegant details: shoes and stockings

It was crowded, it was noisy and it was fun — in my book.

Alicja Mann and George Howard

That was New Year’s Eve, but then came New Year’s Day and a predictable reflective mood arrived dimming my sunny morning. That happens usually after some important celebrations like anniversaries, Christmases or birthdays.

My reflective mood usually brings some dark thoughts for a while. Memories of tragic events, images of people I miss, thoughts about unfulfilled promises or dreams that did not materialize crowd my mind. An image of myself emerges — identical to the real me, but much darker. That darkness is similar to the reflection of any image on a shiny surface (except a mirror) — a pool of water, a window or a very shiny table like the one I was sitting at on New Year’s Eve.

Thinking about this, playing cards came to my mind and I created one for myself. I made the choice of an ace of hearts. I like the hearts on it. I also like that it is the highest card, but can also be the lowest one! There is a challenging duality in it, just as in real life.

The playing cards for bridge or poker have mirror images on them — so identical that the way one holds a card does not matter. However, the cards of life, like mine, have to be handled with great care. If not, they might flip around and their dark side would be up and dominate.

Have a good year of 2012 — play your cards of life the best you can!

Two Ace of Hearts cards from Alicja Mann

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Text and images copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Explore posts in the same categories: Celebrations, Essays, Events, Feelings, Photo essays, Places, Thoughts

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10 Comments on “The Cards of Life”

  1. Richardson Don Says:

    You are too beautiful for English words, so I will study some Polish and get back to you when I am fluent. I may have told you that 6 of our Nation discussion group went on the cruise this year and had a wonderful time: wine, dancing, swimming on beaches, and -oh, yes–some seminars starring John Nichols and Jeremy Scahill.
    We are selling this big house and going our separate ways. It is time for that.

    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Hello Don,

      It is great to hear from you and I am sorry for this delay in responding. To tell you the truth your comment/complement overwhelmed me and scared me – I will not hear from you till you learn Polish? It might take a while!

      In any case, I wrote already how I wish I could be on that cruise.
      Thank you for keeping in touch and please continue in English!

  2. Lesley Says:

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderful start to the new year, Alicja! Just your style . . .


  3. Happy new Year Ali!
    Loved your blog, when are we getting back together this week?

    Sebastian

  4. Pam Says:

    Alicja, I loved seeing the photo of you with your reflection on New Year’s Eve! I want you to know that I felt very emotional and close to you all in Tucson over the weekend as I listened to the memorial events there broadcast on NPR.

  5. Marina G Says:

    Oh Alicja! What can I say, but: That was so cool! I love seeing your creative spirit in full flourish! What a delightful way you’ve expressed your poetic take on things.
    You are starting the new year off with a creative BANG!

    Happy New Year and see you soon,

    Marina

  6. Alicja Mann Says:

    “A creative BANG!” I like that expression very much. Thank you!

    May the CREATIVE BANG be with you too!
    Alicja


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