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Something Old, Something New

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Carol Bossard

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Remember that old song (well, depending on your age, some of you may not!) ---- “What are you doin’ New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?”*  Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Margaret Whiting and more recently --- Harry Connick Jr. ---- were some of the notables who made this song popular.  2021’s last day is tomorrow and how will you spend the Eve?  How have you spent New Year’s Eves in the past?  We have had all sorts of “eves” in our lives; parties, watch-night services, quiet evenings at home, and one spent wandering fruitlessly in Ithaca, looking for a place to eat while our kids partied at home; we were trying to give them a little space and ended up dining on ice cream at Purity!  I stayed up past midnight at the turn of the century, watching as the year changed around the world. This year we expect our evening will be quiet and maybe restoring.  I might exert myself enough to make a yummy drink consisting of vanilla ice cream, milk, eggs and a little B&B Liqueur ---- or perhaps just hot chocolate. We will maybe look back on this year to see what stands out for us and consider what we’d like to do in the year ahead.   We will probably read our books-of-the-evening in silence a lot of the time. Appreciation of quiet and peaceful is one blessing that comes with what one of my doctors tactfully calls a “lot of good years”.   

When 2021 changes into 2022, will we notice any differences? Only humans have made time so arbitrary; for the rest of living creatures, each year morphs into the next with no realization of anything except the seasons. Do you make new year’s resolutions? Are they realistic? I don’t do that anymore although I do have lists for my days. I once had an astute therapist who advised me to STOP making those lists. He was right ---- at the time. I was setting up impossible goals for myself each week. But now ---- those lists keep me functioning. Without them I’d likely forget whose birthday was when, which appointment was coming up and might even forget to bake cookies or tie my shoes. Lists are a life-saver as long as they are taken with a very large grain of salt.  But what do you expect from 2022? A year can be one you are glad to see depart, or it can be a miraculous year. Usually it is a matter of our perspective and whether we expect miracles in the midst of challenges. Looking inward and being honest with ourselves can determine much of how our  year goes.

I look forward to more light in my days. In about two weeks, the increase in daylight will be noticeable. Of course, there is the old saying ---- “As days lengthen, cold strengthens.” I expect, in the next months, we will be getting more chilly temperatures and snow than we really want to experience. When I was a kid, snow was exciting. I remember building snow forts next to the front steps, and snow men, with carrot noses and leering pebble grins facing the road. Our family occasionally had moonlit sledding parties; one of the fields on my brother’s farm sloped perfectly for safe and lengthy sliding.  As a teen, we had snow parties and hot chocolate at the local Rod & Gun Club.  When a young child, I remember riding in my parents’ car with snow coming at the windshield like the business end of a broom.  Now --- knowing the hazards of driving in snow, I’d be highly anxious, but then I felt cozy and safe inside the car.  What a difference in perspective there often is between that of a child and that of an adult who has lived a few years in awareness.  Keeping a small portion of that child-like curiosity and trust would probably be good for us all.  We’d have lowered anxiety and could meet people with less worry about their motives.

But back to what I would like --- or what I expect--- from 2022.  Spencer Singers has a song called “Winter Is At Hand”** and one of the lines says: “It’s so much more than we deserve or I expect, when winter is at hand…..”.  and that’s what I’m thinking about 2022.  I’d like to envision/deserve a year of fine weather without tornadoes, without flooding or droughts and without pernicious bugs bent on destroying crops, trees or my roses.  But ---- we have not always treated the earth well, nor been deserving of Utopia, so I imagine what we will get is a mixture of lovely weather with all the other less-desirable, seasonal possibilities.  I would like to think that my singing voice will recover immediately from two years of non-use and that my energy of a few years ago, will miraculously be restored.  But I will be pleased with a large percentage of good days and something on-key and fairly melodic coming out when I open my mouth.  I would like to believe that no one I love will experience illness or distress --- that life will run smoothly for them.  That is what my father might call a “pipe dream” (referring, I suppose to opium smoking) and he’d laugh. Those I love will probably experience life in all of its facets.  So, what I really hope for them is the courage, strength, faith and a sense of humor to meet their challenges.

Actually, all of us need those things.  Peter, Paul and Mary performed a song entitled “Light One Candle”***.  Googling results mentioned it was considered controversial at the time it came out.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why ----- it seems unquestionably acceptable to me.  But then, people are always finding things controversial that I think quite appropriate.   The song ends with a chorus of “Don’t let the Light go out --- Oh NO --- don’t let the Light go out..!” And that is, I think, our task for 2022; we’ve had some dark days, but we should never forget the lights that have brightened our way and we must radiate out the light we need to move forward.    We have a responsibility to shed all the light we are capable of carrying, to light the way for all those who experience darkness.  New Year’s Eve fireworks are symbolic of this, I hope.

 

With Christmas and the Solstice just past, I enjoy thinking of the garden sleeping peacefully beneath the snow.  It cheers me to know that bulbs are storing up energy to burst out of the ground in April, that even in this chill, owls will soon begin nesting up on our hill and that it is only two months before the sap will be rising in the trees.  “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis**** portrays the worst of rulers and situations ---- a queen whose realm had endless winter with no Christmas.  It is a good tale --- perhaps an allegory-- ---- but definitely a can’t put-down story for anyone from age 10 through 100.  An endless winter with no Christmas is just so descriptive of a life with no hope, no humor, no delight and no birds building nests in January.  But be reassured; the book has a good ending.

We are emerging into a new year, and there are only three months to go before spring.  So ---- rejoice and be glad.  In spite of all the old-year dregs that insist upon intruding into the new year, we have fresh new days to live out as well as we can.  So ----- Happy New Year and may many blessings shower all over you.

***********************************

Carol may be reached at: carol42wilde@htva.net

*”What Are You Doing New Year’s?”---Written by Houston Person

**”Winter Is At Hand” ----Words from the play Richrd III by William Shakespeare; music by Ruth Morris Gray.

***Light One Candle” by Peter Yarrow, one of the trio Peter, Paul and Mry.

****C.S. Lewis --- British writer and theologian educated at both Oxford and Cambridge universities.  “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is book 1 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series.

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