Today marks a beginning. A beautiful newness of light returning slowly and deliberately to our Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice might be the oldest holiday in our brief human history with celebrations going back 30,000 years. Stone structures worldwide were created to mark this day, to aptly predict the coming of the warmth of summer, even with the fear that the light would continue dwindling until it was extinguished. Imagine the faith they had to believe the dark would move toward light.
This is the perfect time to take stock of our year. Or not. Maybe that is a bad idea.
Greg and I had a ritual each December around this time. We’d head to dinner and on a restaurant bar napkin (when they used to print restaurant names on bar napkins) we would write our new year’s resolutions. It was limited to 3-5. Not too many. They had to fit on one side of the napkin.
Over the years many ideas showed up and were completed. Law degrees, weight goals, numbers of books read, movies seen, new jobs and some goals never got achieved like stop drinking or finish the baseball stadium tour.
The ritual goes on to this day and now I have six more people setting their 2021 goals. Even though we can’t do it in person which makes this much less fun, they are sending them over with a broad faith that next year will be a different year. If you want to join, let me know, I’ll include you!
The other part of this ritual is grading the goals from the current year, which must be done per Greg Sabin, with a letter grade. A-F. This year I put an F on the goal find a piano teacher and an A on 20 mens pushups. Yes, some of you might say, I could still find the teacher but it’s too late. It doesn’t fit right now. Sometimes goals set to start in January don’t seem right in December. It’s okay.
I started this shortest day of the year with the sunrise. It rose low in a cold, clear Nevada sky. The snow capped mountains sparkly as it steadily came up rising from the East. The bookend to December 21, 2020 will come with early darkness. Light a candle, feel the warmth, remember the year with its many joys. Honor the sorrows.
So with the 2021 resolutions taped in the book, the winter solstice in motion, the vaccine coming, the year close to ending — don’t forget to breath and be grateful for something. Anything that you can name or feel.
Or if you prefer, do what my friend J.P.K. says at the end of his blog — wash your hands.
Onward people. Onward onward onward.