POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#020: January, 2006
Lines of Age
Is the New Year’s toasting cup half full or half empty? Will 2006 be “worse” or “better” than 2005? Our new year in North America is off to a rough start with dead West Virginia miners, West Coast floods with ensuing landslides, Southwest drought with ensuing wildfires, a final tropical storm named Zeta, and so-called “early spring” tornadoes striking in the month of January. It makes one wonder when the “new” and “better” year actually begins.
For Jews the New Year of 5766 began back in October 2005 when the high holiday of Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year”). The Chinese New Year (called Yuan Tan ) of 4703 begins on the 29th of January, the first New Moon of the new year. Asian celebrations for the new year end on the Full Moon fifteen days later. That fifteenth day is called the Lantern Festival which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in parades. 2005 was the Year of the Rooster, a year that was supposed to bring order through rebuilding things right down to their foundations. 2006 is heralded as the Year of the Dog (Red Dog; year 4703). A theme I discovered for the Year of the Dog is this: “Live right, look out for the little people and fight injustice whenever possible.” Perhaps the “cleansings” begun this past year will continue in 2006.
The New Year is celebrated worldwide. It is one thing we share planet-wide. Other names for celebrations of the New Year are: Shougatsu (Japanese), Hogmanay (Scottish), Chaul Chnam Thmey (Cambodian), Nouruz (Iranian), Tet Nguryen Dan (Vietnamese), Festival of Saint Basil (Greek), Muharram (Muslim), Sylvesterabend (Austrian), Año Nuevo (Spanish/Latin American), Nos Galan (Welsh), and Diwali (in India).
However you cut it or measure it, the new year, like a birthday celebration, brings us a time to look back. Consider what you have learned, digested, and experienced during the past twelve months before you plunge into the future. Take time for private journaling. One way to look back is to write a letter to yourself on your computer or journal. If you find it productive, you can even pretend to be another person describing what “that person” (you) accomplished last year and what it is that (you) will do in the coming year. You might surprise yourself with all that you DID last year. We tend to spend too much time focusing on our resolutions, the things we want to change or to do better in the coming year. We too easily forget all the things we have accomplished and let go of during the year that has now passed. Be kind to yourself. Give credit where credit is due - with You!
I have a birthday this month. I will take time to look back on the past year and try to let go the things that are now ‘dead’ in my life. 2005 has left me a bit ‘bushed’. 2005, the“Year of the Rooster,” truly broke things down to their foundations. Check out Iraq, Louisiana, Phuket, the White House, or even Isleta Boulevard. Sometimes a death of sorts must come before a birth can follow. There must be an empty space for new things to move into. The ‘rebuilding’ continues. This new year brings more lines of age as well as new paths for growth.
As you let go the chapter that was ‘05, and begin to embrace 2006, don’t hesitate to look back, let go, breathe a sigh of relief, and praise yourself for your accomplishments. As poet/sage Bob Dylan wrote:” I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.” May ‘good fortune’ smile on us all as we begin our swing forward into the future.
Jeff Hartzer copyright 2006