(Note: This entry was prepared on Saturday, but ‘time’ constraints kept me from completing the entry recording. Persistent troublemaker, all for Good,, this time.)
Time may be an artifice, but it’s a persistent one.
New Year’s celebrations are a collective ritual, one allowing us to turn the page, end a 365 day chapter, and begin a new one. As the species that creates, experiments, controls, New Year’s allows us a ‘new beginning,’ the conceit of ‘out with the old, in with the new.’
Like Christmas, our New Year’s ritual is not ‘real’ in many senses — that is, the years, decades, millennium are constructs that are loosely, sometimes awkwardly fashioned around what already exists, nature’s rhythms, then labeled (e.g., the Gregorian calendar) and transformed into a useful measuring tool onto which we give meaning.
Marking the end of one full rotation around the sun is a superb reason to party in Times Square, but that’s not why we party in New York, Tokyo, Rio, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Sydney, or stay up late to watch the clock turn past midnight.
I’m guessing that the bigger need — the one driving the ritual — is a need to cyclically, collectively let things go and invite possibility.
The journey into solstice becomes the door of renewal. In the dark, New Year’s celebrations ritualize spring’s perennial possibilities, as minute by minute the days fill again with sun. (I’m referring to the Northern Hemisphere, and I’m not certain how this metaphor extends in our lower half without poking around on the interwebs, which is beyond this entry.)
Speaking for myself, our collective exhalation of the previous year usually translates into a big, palpable feeling of psychic lightness, a feeling that everyone’s stopped, breathed, reset.
The ritual gives felt energy.
Can you feel the collective exhalation of 2020?
This year the exhalation feels big and etheric.
And this entry coincidently marks a shift in my personal and creative choices, and how I’ll be moving ahead on this site.
Today’s reflection is personal, sometimes raw, uncensored, reconciling, and the first in a new format: for the next few months, I’ll be posting once a month, at the month’s beginning, and intermittently as inspired.
To join the space, click here:
Rhaina Cohen’s must-read Atlantic essay, What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?
Jamie K. Reaser’s poem ‘Resolutions’ is a lovely New Year’s meditation. Reaser gave me permission to post it in full here, but WP is unforgiving to poetry, and I couldn’t publish it without slaughtering the author’s spacing. Click this link to read “Resolutions.”
And would you call it to Her face?
If you were faced with Her in all Her glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make Her way home . . . “