Thursday, January 1, 2009

The New Born Year

In these first hours of the first morning of the first day of the new year, I tiptoed into the kitchen to make the coffee. I peeked out of the frosty window over the sink; my gaze traveled down to the creek as it does every morning.

Its surface was sheathed in a delicate, fine covering of ice. The white, lacy edges clung to the marsh grass, weaving in and out as it made its way down the creek toward the river.

I love mornings like this. The coffee taste better, the atmosphere is heavy with portent, and possibility looms in the air. The first hours of a newly born year are always laden with the feeling that something momentous could happen. It could. Everything could change. Forthwith and without warning, life could take a right turn and nothing would ever be the same again, but not in an ominous way.

It smacks more of high adventure, open ended choices, and the delicious tingling of unanticipated experiences. I love New Year's Day. I can't help myself.

For no good reason, and even with the world in the sad state of affairs that we find it these days, I always feel hopeful on New Year's Day. I have no concrete reason, no proof, not even a shred of evidence to offer for my polly-anna-ish attitude. I feel lighthearted on this particular day of the year, and with the exception of only a few occasions, it has always been thus.

I wish I could bottle it, store it up, double zip bag it, put it in the freezer, and save it for that day when the clouds put even the slightest shred of hope into the deepest of shadows, for that night when relentlessly troubled thoughts preclude even the most remote chance of restful sleep, for those moments when disappointment and illness and loss will surely waltz into my life without a care as to the devastation they will wreak. To be sure, all these things will happen this year, for that is the stuff of life, but not today.

Today personifies hope and change and redemption and possibilities. Today is the first day of a fresh, unsullied, new year. It is the day we offer glad tidings to friends and loved ones and strangers alike.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Photo: Martha Stewart

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