Cheers to a New Year

NEW Year’s Day – that arbitrary date in the calendar that compels us to take stock of ourselves and evaluate whether our loves, lives and careers are progressing in the ways they should.  

It is also a time to pause and reflect on the laughter and tears of the past year and what has been done and undone.

Across America, given the fractured state of our collective hearts, attempts to embrace the New Year will be paddled with reverence, or a little whoop, a bit of holler and “Auld Lang Syne”; in splashes of patriotism, the traditional sounds of churning and noisemakers and fireworks that will mingle with the ringing of bells in churches, as the nation moves away from the historic tragedy of an unwanted ongoing war.

It is also during the holidays when I feel the deepest moments of gratitude for the young men and women dripping with weapons, and standing for a frozen vigil on some lonely shore this Christmas and New Year’s Day, wishing they, too, could be home, sipping cider by the fire.

Regardless, it will always be a day for voluntary kindness and charity for family and friends. For celebrating freedom and the bounty it creates without undermining the fact that almost half of the globe has universally collapsed into a heap of poverty, devastation, denial and finger-pointing. 

I let the pine tree live, on that Christmas morning that came and gone. I threw open my window on a bright, delightful and shining world for the 76th time.

The bustling street falls strangely quiet. The living room rests, ankle deep in the effluvia of ribbons, papers and bows, empty cardboard boxes that held presents.  In the background, Tchaikovsky gives the evanescent joy of music into a yearning heart.

Shedding the wrinkled skin of an old year gives a welcome sense of another chance. So welcome winter, welcome New Year’s. Is there a term for the way dusk drapes, begins at noon, and across around us in the next couple of hours? Is it after light or afterglow?  Where are we headed?  Do we take life as a journey, a safari or a pilgrimage, or perhaps as a garden if not as the highest art? We have lived the questions, ready to embrace the answers. Chronologically, we’re at the end of the year, yet at the beginning of a journey.

We will make some discoveries, as we keep on a lookout for soulful markers that surround us savoring the stops along the way. These are what makes the journey marvelous, meaningful and memorable.     As you find and honor your own pace, stirring your mind, body and spirit, through the parting of the mists where faith and doubt meet, we will find, not who we are – but what we are.

I am not fazed by cynicism and betrayals. I will sprinkle it on my oats, add it as a boost to my Ensure.  It keeps me young.  But for a week more, I will put all that on hold. Forget the cynicism, those that give you grief.  Feed them to the alligators!  If you’re sad at New Year’s you really have only yourself to blame. Candles, firelights bubbling wines can keep your heads above them.

I will laugh when I hear favorite lines, salvaged only by the twisted wisdom of my colleagues.  That pointed out that there were different rules for old women with money; I vowed to one day be one.

And we least we forget this about Christmas and New Year.  Children are the best ornaments. Friends are the best ornaments. Friends are the real feasts.  Like life, the holidays will be over, before you know it.

On the brighter side, the lengthening of each day from this point promised the vital return of spring.

So welcome, winter. Welcome, New Year!


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