Another new year

Before the day begins, before most people are out, the sky continues to change as it has done forever.

Morning sky with a waning crescent moon high in the sky
The morning sky

The terms beginning and end are meaningless here as is, I suppose, the term day.

These words are human constructs to mark the passage of time, which, to our thinking, must be linear. There must be endings and there must be beginnings. A day begins and it ends.

We may say that a new day marks a new beginning, a new start to try again on whatever it was we didn’t get right yesterday, forgetting that, in fact, we are free to start again at any moment in time. We don’t have to wait until tomorrow.

A year ends and a new year begins, passages that many humans will mark with some ceremony, perhaps large, perhaps small. If a new day can be a new start, a new year can be an even more comprehensive new start. More than a new page. A new chapter, perhaps. Maybe even a new book.

Days and years are convenient markers for us but, for the reality that is unconstrained by our concepts and our attempts to place order on the world, these beginning and endings don’t exist. There is simply continuous being, unending transformation, which is shown so beautifully in the sky, but is everywhere around us to see if we stop and take notice.

This morning, the waning moon graced me with her presence as I set out on my exploration of the world. Seeing her so briefly as she prepares to enter her dark phase reminded me again of the neverending cycle that underpins the world in which we inhabit. It goes on, regardless of what the calendar says, of what the clock says. It doesn’t stop because of a virus and it will continue to go on despite what we end up doing to the planet.

This day, 1 January 2022, is the same as any other day but insofar as every moment is different, it’s different too. And while I use this time of year to reflect on the past 365 days and to think about what I might do differently in the coming days, weeks and months, there’s no real reason why I can’t do this at any time. Still, the calendar date is a convenient marker to refresh the slate. Or perhaps the browser window, since we don’t use slates any more.

But, despite people professing a desire, and making well-intentioned wishes, for a better year in 2022, in reality, if the last few weeks, months or years have been a shitshow, that’s not going to magically change today. The number of days we have left to take the action we need to prevent our climate from collapsing is one fewer, our governments are going to continue push us to live as if we were no longer in a pandemic, and I have to keep reminding myself not to dwell on things that are outside my control and to focus my attention on the things I can do.

I have to seek out beauty, because some days that’s the only thing I’ve got.

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