Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In need of a New Year

I wonder if you witnessed the sunrise this morning?
Wouldn't you agree that there's something particularly magical about a winter sunrise . . . that moment of stillness when the sky is stained a delicate pink, a moment when the whole world seems to be holding its breath in expectancy, when anything is possible.

Logic may insist that the sun isn't really rising, that it's our planet that's revolving.  But you can feel your heart respond as that small, glowing disc emerges slowly in the east, bringing with it the promise and hope of a pristine, new day.

Watching the sunrise, I was reminded of a talk I heard recently.
The speaker contended that our modern western civilisation is predisposed to look on our life as a linear progression.  We forget, he told his listeners, that, within an evolutionary process, human life, along with that of the rest of creation, is cyclical.

Would you agree?
Reflecting on his words, I found that they made sense.
We expect the economy to grow, the standard of life to rise steadily, organisations to put down roots and become increasingly established.  We don't look upon the various strands of our culture as a cycle, instead we treat them as part of an indefinite, rather monotonous, straight line.

But haven't you noticed how we also long for evidence of an underlying natural cycle?
We don't want an eternal summer, we crave the harvest of autumn, the dormancy of winter, the promise of spring. We don't want endless daylight, we need the sun to set, the night to give us rest, and the morning to bring a new perspective.

Most of all, wouldn't you agree, we need a new year?
We can manage three hundred and sixty five days, we can even cope with an additional day every four years, but, oh, the joy, the relief, of putting the old year to bed and drawing a beautiful, new, unsullied version out of its New Year's Eve wrappings.
The old year may have offered much, may even have fulfilled many of its hopes and dreams, but, inevitably, it limps away exhausted by the effort.
We need a new year . . . we need a new cycle.

Nor is it just the pleasure of having a new year to contemplate, there's all that it represents.  The new diary, new calendar, a new sense of expectation, a fresh opportunity . . . another chance.

Are you like me?  Is the first entry in your new diary written with painstaking care and attention . . . a neat entry that is wholly legible?  Do you open your new diary with a sense of anticipation and, for a few weeks at least, treat it with care?

In point of fact, there is nothing to distinguish the first of January from any other day.  The new year once started in March.
But, psychologically, it arrives with all the hope and potential of this morning's sunrise, of the first primrose pushing through the winter soil, of a baby's first, unbelievable intake of breath.
It signals a start, a rebirth.

2012 is over and done with.
For all its highlights, excitements and revelations, it was also badly scarred by our stupidity.
There's a sense of relief in seeing the chapter come to a close.

So .  . . let's take a deep breath and turn to face the sunrise of 2013.
Re-energised by its promise, may we all enjoy a very happy New Year!