Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Day, New Year


I love mornings. Despite my earlier complaints about time changes—and, believe me, I’m still complaining about them—my favorite time of day is the silent hour before the sun wakes up and the 15-minute masterpiece in the sky when it does. When it is warm enough to sit on the porch with coffee, I can almost hear the colors settling in, deciding whether to go with purple this morning or stick with the red that always makes us do the “ahhh” thing. Then there are mornings like this one, when all is in shades of gray. When it’s way too cold for coffee on the porch because the only sound you hear is the falling of the wind chill factor.

Unfortunately, and maybe wrongly, these shades of gray are how I often think of winter once Christmas has passed. Sunny periods are short and often bitterly cold. The wind will steal your breath without so much as a “sorry” as it rushes past. Days are short, nights long and dark. Even the most hopeful among us often despair that spring and brightness and warmth will ever come again, even though we know it always does.

It’s the New Year, time to get used to writing 2011 and figuring out how to say it. Do you say “twenty-eleven” or “two-thousand-eleven” or just “eleven”? Do you still stumble over the term “21st century” even though we’re well into it? More than any time since the long nightmare of the year of 9/11, I’ve heard people sighing with relief at the last turn of the calendar. Whether for emotional, financial, or other reasons, the people I know are hoping for better times in 2011.

I’ve been one of the lucky ones. Our seventh grandchild was born this year, the job I’ve worked and liked for 30 years is winding down and I still have my natural hair color. Yes, really I do. It’s my choice to cover it up. The holidays were spent with family and friends and I only gained five pounds or so, bringing the year’s total to…never mind that.

Even so, though I liked 2010, I’m always ready for New Year’s. It’s like the morning of the day, when you have time for your own thoughts, your own dreams, when you believe everything’s possible.

It is.

But if the New Year dawns gray like this morning’s sky, it’s up to you to find the color and hear it settle in. If you think, as the paragraph above admits I too often do, that all of winter is cold and gray and bitter, that’s exactly the way it’s going to be. However—I always have a however; it’s one of my favorite words—if you remember that the days are getting longer now and the nights shorter, if you convince yourself that spring is just around the corner, being blown in by the breath-stealing cold, you’ll start to see streaks of red and orange and purple in the gray. And your New Year will be like morning. Make it a great one.
Till next time.

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