Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #86 – “New Beginnings for the Win”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.


by Larry Brody

Back when I was a little kid trying to make sense of the world—as opposed to the big kid I am now still trying to do the same thing—I couldn’t understand why the new year started in the middle of winter. I mean, c’mon!

January 1st as New Year’s Day didn’t make sense to me. The world outside was bleak and dead-looking. Barren branches. Overcast skies. No birds. No insects. No sense of “Here comes Life!”

So why not start the year in summer, when sun and greenery and living creatures of all kinds were all around?

Or in spring, a time of beginnings for just about everything anyway?

Or in fall, to coincide with the beginning of school. My friends and relatives (and not just children; anyone with children too) scheduled their lives around the school year anyway, so why not make it official?

As an adult I learned the historical reason the Western world starts its year in the month of January. Turned out the culprit was none other than Julius Caesar, who created his own calendar and started it with the month of Janus, the god of gates and doorways…and therefore the god of beginnings and endings. According to Wikipedia.Com, Janus symbolized “the progression of past to future,” and that’s certainly what the new year is all about.

But although I understood this, it still felt wrong.

Until this week.

It was a glorious week in Paradise. The sky was blue. The air was crisp and so clean it washed all sadness, dismay, or fear right out of my skin. The cold was bracing and energizing, and even without their leaves the trees seemed to me to stand especially tall, sentinels stripped for action.

And talk about beginnings!

Karen the Post Lady brought Gwen the Beautiful and me half a dozen silkie hens to strengthen what had been a dwindling flock. And they started laying from Day One.

The Big Red Chow Dude came out of the forest to visit us for the first time in six months. And he’s healthy as can be. (Who’s been feeding the Dude? Inquiring minds want to know…and say, “Thanks.”)

Burl Jr. the New Groundskeeper announced that he’s in love again. And this time it’s with a young woman who can’t wait to go out on the road with him.

And I had these dreams.

Three of them, actually.

In the first dream I was about to get on an endless freeway that always had been my way home, but a young guy wearing a big cowboy hat convinced me to take a winding back road around a big lake and through several rivers.

“It’s only going to take me to the same old place,” I said, “and slow me down. What’s the point?”

“That’s the point,” the young cowboy said. “Do something new. Take the scenic route. Whenever and wherever you can.”

In the second dream Gwen and I lived in a high-ceilinged museum. We were having a party, and guests we didn’t know where everywhere, touching all the artwork and taking out all the ancient manuscripts to read.”

“I’ve got to get these folks out of here,” I said to myself. “Got to straighten out this place and put everything away.”

“No, you don’t,” said the closest manuscript. “You’re the custodian, not the jailer. Your job is to make sure everyone sees everything. Your purpose is to share.”

In the third dream, a weightlifting champion I’d considered my enemy for almost half my life challenged me to go one on one with him.

“No way,” I said. “You’ll cream me.”

“You never can win unless you try,” he snorted.

The champ started bench pressing enormous weight. Nervously, I did the same—and not only did I win but I grew (literally because this was a dream) two feet taller and found a power in myself I’d never known I had.

The power to fly. Over the scenic route to the museum, calling out to everyone below as I flew, “Come see! Come see!”

So here we are at the New Year. With change and Janus-blessed progress everywhere. The weather, recent events, and my dreams have filled me with the sense of being a new person entering a new world. I hope that all who read this have reason to feel the same.

And that we can fly on into life together shouting, “Come see! Come see!”

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

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