Tuesday, January 01, 2008

first day

I'm not in the New Year's spirit. Is that possible? I mean, how is it possible? Really, what about the idea of New Year is there not to like?

It's not that I dislike it. It's just that I have other things on my mind this time around. Never one to participate in the festivities, it's not like I missed out this year because I didn't attend a party. I never do.

I worked until 10:30pm (don't get me wrong, I'm glad that they let us out two hours early). When I got home, I watched half an hour of the weak programming on one television network, and half an hour of commercials interspersed with nanosecond appearances by Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, a few of Disney's and American Idol's latest stars, and about a million of their closest friends in Times Square.

My husband and I kissed at midnight. That was the best part. And now it's another day, pretty much like all other days, except I didn't have to work today. Ted did -- up before the freakin' crack of dawn to open the store, and there for nine hours. It snowed. Again. Did I mention that we just survived the snowiest December in New Hampshire history? I still have all the same chores on my 'to do' list. I still have all the same worries. I still don't know what to do about my chores and worries. This year, the type of blind optimism that even the grumpiest people embrace (at least temporarily) has eluded me. And I'm not typically one of the grumpiest.

So, why am I here? Why bother blogging on the holiday when I'm so clearly not drinking the Kool-Aid this year? Two reasons. I'd like to try and be a bit more conscientious about writing, and that includes blogging. That said, I am tempted to put sanguinary blue on ice and start an anonymous blog, but that's a story for another day. And I want to share the always well-timed and beautifully phrased wisdom of Verlyn Klinkenborg. From his "The Rural Life" column in the New York Times.

New Year’s Eve
By Verlyn Klinkenborg

At midnight tonight, the horses on this farm will age a year. That is the custom — every horse has the same birthday, Jan. 1. Like all things calendrical, this is a human convention. When it comes to equine conventions, I know enough to notice some of the simpler forms of precedence: who goes first through a gate, who gets to the grain feeder ahead of the others. But I can report that the horses make no fuss about their common birthday or the coming of the new year. Tonight, like any other, they will be standing, dozing on their feet, ears tipping back and forth at the slightest of sounds.

There is something deeply gratifying about joining the horses in their pasture a few minutes before the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. What makes the night exceptional, in their eyes and mine, is my presence among them, not the lapsing of an old year.

It’s worth standing out in the snow just to savor the anticlimax of midnight, just to acknowledge that out of the tens of millions of species on this planet, only one bothers to celebrate not the passing of time, but the way it has chosen to mark the passing of time. I remember the resolutions I made when I was younger. I find myself thinking that one way to describe nature is a realm where resolutions have no meaning.

It’s not that time isn’t passing or that the night doesn’t show it. The stars are wheeling around Polaris, and the sugar maples that frame the pasture are laying down another cellular increment in their annual rings. The geese stir in the poultry yard. A hemlock sheds its snow. No two nights are ever the same.

I always wonder what it would be like to belong to a species — just for a while — that isn’t so busy indexing its life, that lives wholly within the single long strand of its being. I will never have even an idea of what that’s like.

I know because when I stand among the horses tonight, I will feel a change once midnight has come. Some need will have vanished, and I will walk back to the house — lights burning, smoke coming from the wood stove — as if something had been
accomplished, some episode closed.

I love that this article puts the hype into perspective. At least, it somewhat justifies my lack of enthusiasm for the revelry. It also gives me an excuse to include a picture of my niece, Courtney. Not that I need an excuse. I feel certain she wished Willie a happy horse birthday and carrot-filled new year.

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