A New Year’s Day Reflection – 2014

  • The year has ended and so we move into another one. Linear time is the only way we can organize our lives, the only structure our minds can grasp. And by that measure, it is 2014 – January 1st. The dual face of Janus gazes ahead, and turns away from what has gone before. Whether we are leaving a good year or one we aren’t sorry to abandon, may we all find hope and joy in the new version.

    Yet there is also, perhaps, a form of concurrent time … a nagging sense that somewhere, all things are happening at once. Our child-selves race and climb, bruise and laugh. Our parents are whole and young; our first loves hold out their hands toward us. Summers stretch ahead, innocent and bright. The sea rolls cleaner and the leaves bear no scars. There are gleaming trout and salmon in those other rivers. Snow falls unmarked by grit and wood smoke hangs in the winter air. We stir the cream through our milk and eat fat molasses cookies without a second’s pause. Ours is the kingdom of anticipation.

    In that strange framework where time runs parallel to itself, we are winding through an endless conga dance and every sorrow, every triumph, every delight or pain is woven into that line. They are all ours to know again. We dream ourselves into each well-remembered scene and suspended moment. Hours no longer stride across the world like booted enemies. The only borders are those we build in our sleep.

    I know, I know! This is but the ramble of an aging mind. The longing of a heart no longer certain it is entitled to long for much of anything. Health, perhaps. Comfort enough, peace enough, coins for spending and a scatter of stars for feeling insignificant. Things that my brain is able to set out – here, and here, and over there too. A table where all the cutlery is neatly arranged, and nothing takes me unaware. I suppose there are worse prospects than organization but I’d rather have disorder and surprise. The feather dropped in my hair from something unseen. The cat that holds half my memories in her eyes.

    Happy New Year to my family and friends, and a glass raised in salute to you all! May you move forward with optimism and courage, but bundle the older years around you like a worn and familiar coat.

    Ring the change and listen. The sky is chiming tonight, like a great bell.

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