Happy New Calendar!

Everybody likes New Year’s Eve — don’t they? It’s the biggest party of the year, when

auld langes syne. Though I appreciate the mix of celebration and introspection, my heart is moving towards the Winter Solstice. Isn’t

that really the beginning of the new year? For most of my life, the gifting frenzy of Christmas and the rather arbitrary calendar change

(New Year’s used to be in March, I think) have distracted me from the real day, and night, of great moment, a day whose significance

does not depend on human beings for declaration, celebration or even notice. A great milestone on the circular track of the real year.

The moment the pendulum swings back from its extreme; the promise of spring to come.

But humans are self-centered and determined to

detach ourselves from nature. We follow our own calendar and no longer need to follow the larger, older rhythms. When you measure time in

nanoseconds, you digitize life into equal, undifferentiated units. Happy Next Second? No time for that, it’s all the same.

Still, we

can’t help ourselves, born of this world and steeped in its movements. We know this is a time to be thoughtful, grateful and giving. We

know this is a turning point that keeps returning with hope of bright, warm days ahead. We gather, we chatter, we lighten up. A few days

early, a few days late — it’s all the same.

Happy New Calendar! mjh

And another thing:
A few years ago, I was surprised to learn

that the latest sunrise and earliest sunset are NOT on the winter solstice. They’re not even on the same day, but different days a

couple of weeks either side of the solstice. Blows my mind. How can it be? And how can it be that I was well past 40 before I learned

this (and not by observation). That’s the price of arbitrary time.