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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s’

The Swinging Door of the Year

The Swinging Door of the Year
SBC in GSC door

Unintended Selfie in my Great-grandparents’ front door, 28 Mt. Vernon St, Boston (the door plate reads GS Curtis)

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about the turn of the year as a swinging door–the kind of door that swings both ways, as, for example, between a restaurant’s kitchen and seating area. I’m not sure why I was thinking about traffic passing in two directions–to and fro–as in that Rumi poem about waking at dawn:

“People are going back and forth/across the doorsill where the two worlds touch./ The door is round and open./Don’t go back to sleep!”

Time as we understand it doesn’t move in both directions. The past–last year, yesterday, even last minute!–is behind us; the future is ahead. In that sense, the door between 2015 and 2016 has now opened and closed; we have passed through, and the door cannot be reopened.

Ah, but memory allows us to travel backwards! Memory is our boat, or the moving water beneath our boats, and memory can take us back to people, places, events, worlds, even if not with utterly reliable accuracy.

Perhaps, then, the door between one year and the next is more like a one-way-travel door with a window in it. Even from the new side of the door, it’s possible to look back through the window, to remember and reflect on where we’ve come from, where we’ve been, who has loved us (and who has left us), whom we have loved and whom we’ve lost; our decisions, choices, turns, detours, failures and triumphs (two categories that sound deceptively distinct but often closely overlap!).

These days just before and after New Year’s feel precious–a rare moment of culturally sanctioned reflection. (Though how one is expected to pause and reflect meaningfully in a fog of booze and loud public celebration, I haven’t got a clue!)

The door of the year may be shut, but I plan to enjoy peering back through its window a while before I throw myself headlong into 2016. And you?

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