Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Turning of the Year

The backyard at dawn on New Year's morning: a lone crow flies north against the pink and blue sky, a waning crescent moon hangs like a forgotten Christmas ornament. The winter garden is a bedraggled assortment of blackened vines left over from summer and a few fecund patches of greens that have been producing daily salads and vegetable side dishes for weeks on end. The blackened vines are still hosting a few wizened tomatoes that have made it through the heavy frosts.

We also have some pale tomatoes ripening artistically on a plate on the dining room table, and a pile of scraggly branches stashed in the garage with some green globes still clinging. Last year we had tomatoes for Christmas and for New Year's. This year we may well have tomatoes for Valentine's Day! (Probably not.)

No dramatic seasonal changes in these parts -- always something dying, something sprouting, something ready to harvest. You have to look close to see the small shifts that mark the turning of the year.

Today we throw out the old calendars and the boxes of our days will be presided over by new themes -- Japanese prints this year rather than dramatic photos of Yosemite (last year's gift from a friend superceded by this year's gift from a different friend). Like millions of others, I quietly decide to start afresh, turn a new page, in some small area of life. This blog, for instance -- a place to write down the little revelations of the day in order to see them more clearly and see more of them.

In the garden the year turned about ten days ago -- the earth began tilting back toward the sun, lengthening the solar path across the heavens. The season of light. Actually, the season of the return of light. Cause for celebration since ancient days.

And always room for new beginnings in these endless turnings.

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