Into the New Year

December 16th, 2012

I’ve been thinking about the end of the world (expected on the 21st) and new beginnings  (if Mayan cosmology leaves us in no need of a Go Bag) and how we’re  constantly tacking between the two–and not just when an ancient prophecy looms. Our life yesterday is over, a whole world in miniature finished, and today we’re already sailing into tomorrow. Sometimes leaning into the wind, sometimes with it at our backs, sometimes being driven toward the rocks and sometimes turning back to the safety of a familiar port until we feel rested enough to continue on. No matter what, we always, always set out without adequate provisions or accurate navigation because we can’t resist the call of the vast eternity we sense is just out of sight. Scurvy, pirates and sea monsters be damned! And at its most basic, it’s a one-person spiritual journey no matter how many others are embarking at the same time. I feel this pulling away from port on a solitary voyage most acutely at Christmas time. For me, December is a month with old loss clinging to it along with fresh green garlands and fairy lights. I know this is due to some unique circumstances in my life, but it also seems appropriate for a month of endings and lingering looks over our shoulders. What have we jettisoned this past year, who has saved us, who have we lost in the great storms of our life, when have we gone off course?  And as we leave the year behind, will there be brand-new maps to unfold, unknown passengers that cross our paths, old and new monsters to battle? It’s a given–we will be brave, foolish, frightened, bold, lost and found. We will wonder at some point why the hell we ever left the fireplace and flannel of  home to lash ourselves to the mast and hang on for dear life. Because just maybe there will be the “sounds, and sweet airs” of some yet-unimagined island paradise waiting for us just over the horizon.

 

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