Saturday, December 31, 2016

Comes the dawn

'Tis New Year's Eve, the sky is blue above Minnesota's cold air. We're ending the year with rare glimpses of sunshine. I'm going to take that as a good omen for the future, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. Years ago I made a New Years resolution to give up New Years resolutions. I've been successful at keeping that resolution until now. As I look at the world we've created for ourselves, or let others create for us, and at my relationship to it, I find lots of sources for dissatisfaction that lead me to the two related resolutions I'm adopting for 2017.
  • I will learn to understand with my heart before my head.

  • I will listen as hard as I can, just to understand.

A New Year begins with a new day
A New Year begins with a new day
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm not sure how successful I'll be, or what related changes these resolutions may bring if I am successful keeping them, but they represent the best place I can figure out to start creating a world more like the one in which I want to live and have my children thrive. The thoughts I listed represent the way I'll begin a New Year.

To close out 2016, I want to thank all of you who've taken time to read these postings, and, even more so, those of you who've been kind enough to share your feelings and thoughts in the comments. I'd reply to comments more often, but I still haven't figured out how to do that on the Blogger software.

Paul Simon, years ago, warned us about the dangers on the path we've been following. Listen to his Hazy Shade of Winter and then, in April Come She Will, to what happens as we learn to first understand with our hearts. May Sarton similarly describes a hope-filled way to start our next New Year.

Wishing you the best for 2017, "Live life and thrive."

New Year Poem



Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.

We are dying away from things.
It is a necessity—we have to do it
Or we shall be buried under the magazines,
The too many clothes, the too much food.
We have dragged it all around
Like dung beetles
Who drag piles of dung
Behind them on which to feed,
In which to lay their eggs.

Let us step outside for a moment
Among ocean, clouds, a white field,
Islands floating in the distance.
They have always been there.
But we have not been there.

We are going to drive slowly
And see the small poor farms,
The lovely shapes of leafless trees
Their shadows blue on the snow.
We are going to learn the sharp edge
Of perception after a day’s fast.

There is nothing to fear.
About this revolution…
Though it will change our minds.
Aggression, violence, machismo
Are fading from us
Like old photographs
Faintly ridiculous
(Did a man actually step like a goose
To instill fear?
Does a boy have to kill
To become a man?)

Already there are signs.
Young people plant gardens.
Fathers change their babies’ diapers
And are learning to cook.

Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.


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