Is there something inherent in the moment, she wondered—the angle of the light, the positions of the stars, the degree of the earth’s progress in its loop around the sun—that shifts our internal landscapes, the way sap rises in trees? Or is it our own expectations, the intentions and hopes pinned upon a particular time portal—one minute past midnight on December 31st, for instance—that invite a shift in consciousness, a sense of new beginnings on clean slates?
At about 2:30 AM, after the guests had left and I’d washed the dishes and reclaimed the kitchen counters from the winter army of invading ants, I sat down in the dark in my old cane rocker in the living room with a brandy snifter-full of Bailey’s Irish Cream, my first alcohol of the evening.
Something did feel new. Something announced itself as quietly, invisibly taking form. And at the same time, something felt very old, deeply, almost comfortingly sad.
Last year I lost my mother, Florence of the once-dark hair, radiant features, and ever-lively spirit. And I lost my friend Maria, shiningly beautiful in death as in life. I've had to reclaim the pieces of self that they had each carried for me, to bear that weight myself, along with pieces that had been held by so many more now gone--my father, Leonard, gone nearly three years now; my Grandpa Sam, whose yahrzeit is today; my other grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends.
But maybe the new thing taking form is the me without those pieces. The me not needing to hold what they, the dear ones gone held for me, of me. A lighter, emptier version 2.013.
For some unknown reason, the rhythms of Shakespearean poetry began to seep into my mind and trickle out into lines of iambic pentameter. Fourteen lines, a sonnet for the new year.
May the swells and currents of 2013 carry us strongly, surely, and not too roughly to the far shores of imagination, soothing, healing and surprising our souls with beauties and wonders beyond imagining. May we dock at many fantastic and bustling ports, unloading cargo as we go, so that when we drop anchor in the harbor of another year, we will find ourselves floating joyously upon the waters, empty and light and free.
Sonnet for the New Year
The year behind unfurled upon the screen
of mind and body, rolling all too fast,
confounding future with the days now past,
while winter rains have turned the present green.
So on white foaming seas my soul is cast
and fisher boats do wildly careen,
trolling the deeps for beat of life unseen
beneath the waves of mystery, dark and vast.
How shall I come to You, Majestic Queen,
when winds o’erturn me, gales snap my mast?
When naught but shreds of mem’ry cling at last
to clothe my harrowed ones in mystic sheen?
Great Mother, You birth my unending quest.
I flow into this year at Your behest.
—Diane Elliot, January 1, 2013