Because the calendar — not our position in the cosmos, tilt of the Earth or phase of the moon — said so, a new year began on Saturday. I have often wondered if the Winter Solstice and the lengthening of days made more sense as the start of the year, but we humans are much too smart to fall for such a primitive, simple way to anticipate and mark the passage of time. With moon phases and other quaint folklore reduced to trivia in small print, our modern calendar has quite sensibly divided the year into months of un-equal, seemingly random length and managed to conjure an entire bonus day every four years which we, in our wisdom, tack on to the end of February, one of the worst months of all. Sensible or not, we use the same calendar as everyone else and Friday night was a night of revelry at Fish in a Barrel Pond.
The last brush pile of 2010 — and all it symbolized — was reduced to ashes in the first hours of 2011, a large circle of filthy, steaming slush standing in for a clean slate and a fresh start. The first sunrise of 2011 was feeble at best, representing nothing more — I hope — than a good day to hit the woods, which I did.
Not beholden to calendars and other such contrivances, the trees did not share my feelings a I tromped through the remnants of last week’s blizzard. One grouse flushed along the way, blasting its way from beneath a tiny balsam as I passed, and for a second I entertained the thought that my heart might never beat normally again. Otherwise, the woods were still. The snow was too deep for easy movement, at least for those who can not tunnel their way through, and the only tracks I saw were from coyotes working the edges of the lake, hoping to surprise an unsuspecting beaver or otter.
Yesterday was once the future and tomorrow will soon be the past. Calendars or not, the world keeps turning and the seasons keep changing in an eternal slog through time, an endless procession of days. Don’t watch them go by like a slow motion parade. Make the most of every day in 2011.
Happy New Year, Y’all.