December is a contradictory month. Seasons end and start. The holiday season hits a few high notes, peters into a slow decay and then comes to the last day and gives a final shout. Fall ends and winter begins up here in the northern hemisphere. Down below the equator, they're looking at spring's end, summer's beginning.
A year is ending. We'll steal out of 2012 and into 2013 next week. There will be celebrations and we'll look back with many eyes, defining changes, gazing at the big stories.
Change is faster and slower as I age. Lot of simple, silly things change change by day, month and year. Once I thought they were matters of great signficance about who we are as a culture but now I see differently. Change, and our culture, is an ocean of swells and troughs. It's always splashing and rolling, influenced by sun, moon, stars and planet. We bob along, thinking it's us making the waves.
Another holiday season has been booked. Guests have left, going back to where they belong. Crowds are dissipating. Normal hours are returning to business although my company remains dead calm. I like that.
We're commencing our plans for 2013's season. We will escape. My wife wants to be warm and elsewhere next year. Okay, where? Hawaii, it's been decided. We've reserved our hotel rooms. We'll book the flights later.
I'm not certain how I feel about 2012's impending demise. We're putting it out of its misery, changing the page on it, ready or not.
It's been an okay year, not the stuff of dream nor nightmare, just an ordinary year for an ordinary white, middle class male existence. As I've aged, I've realized how arbitrary our years really are. Yes, we're marking transitions of planet and sun but within me are other transitions. I'm mapping them out. What's really happening with my personal calendar?
What year will really begin?
I'm full of questions about that. Do my years begin with my birthday, or are they foreshadowed by my death? Do they follow the sun, moon, planets and stars, or do other tides influence my years? Can I channel and manage these influences or must I endure them like weather, or try to plan ahead and flee or find refuge?
In looking ahead, I look behind, searching for the patterns, because I can't see ahead. All of those influences are out there, like earthquakes, tidal waves, weather systems, lurking, forming, re-forming.
What will they do to my year?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com