Into this new year we enter with awe. With trembling? Or resolve. Does the sound of the clock's tick as it tocks past its midnight leave us with dread, or a sense of remorse, a nostalgia for all that we did not get done in our past. Or: something larger, richer, the hourglass turned upside down, the white tiny crystals beginning their descent into the hard pit that awaits their quick fall. (Going into one door always leads to such thoughts.)
We know it's all arbitrary. The dates themselves; our lives, especially. One moment begins where the other must end. Your life finds its true groove just before it completes the last spin of some cycle that conveniently, intentionally, winds up its rotation where you least expect locks on a window that will open no more. I'm born, you're born; he croaks, she lingers on. Bitter at life for letting her live. Is there a pattern at play? Literally, I mean? A round of parcheesi for one, whose rules and small pieces are kept by a God as a child covets toys? Perhaps chance is the facade that masks its own pattern. With God as the artist who paints this sly shield. Protecting his board game, while we turn to mystics for solace and booze for some syntax, a grammar of empathy that gives us our due. (Or what we think we deserve.)
Yet there are moments when thoughts such as these feel as futile as punching the wind and expecting to hear a low moan in response. Life has a whack of its own, silent but present, that tempts me to doubt my own cynical ploy. The cool air of winter infects our old bones with a constant assault almost cheerful and coy in its relentless sharp jabs. How hot is the room that we enter after such a chill joust! That warmth of a house that welcomes us back from December's raw kiss, tongueless but slick with its own frigid spit. Off goes the coats, down with our gloves, our hands rubbing quickly, starting some fire.
In that moment when winter is shown the slam of a door, something inside of me shifts and then settles. Almost an exhale. A battle has been, if not won, at least postponed. Hot chocolate awaits. The clock by the fireplace does its slow thing. Mechanical, yes, but constant. Progressive. Spring, far off, approaching. I can feel time as my ally, at least for that moment.
Happy New Year.