Another year. Ever onward towards the future. The march from birth to death.
Or so the calendar says.
What a thing we do, to start fresh in the dead of winter. Sure, not the case for all around the globe, but here where I am- that’s how it goes. And if you are near where I am, there is no mistaking this winter. The cold has been profound. Lower temperatures in New York than in Denmark. But that is, believe it or not, how it often is. Until it is warm. Then New York is leaps and bounds hotter. Pronounced seasons and such.
A discussion I’ve had with a few of the men I work with. We spend long stretches of time together. Philosophy happens in all conversation, after long enough. Even among the blue-collar type folks. Possibly more often than those with other colored shirts.
But the idea I projected regarded the seasons (as they occur in the northeast of the good ol’ US of A) and my need of these changes. For purposes of maintaining mental health. Supplement-free.
Folks love to dream of retirement and the beach houses they may some day never inhabit. But they think of them, and they long for the idea of a steady intake of pleasantries. The sun always shining. The tan never fading. Even if it is to never occur, the idea seems clear.
Not for me. I’m beginning to know myself too well. At least in that particular category.
I am a man without religion. I don’t think of any sort of god over my shoulder. So, all I have is this self I seem to have been granted, and the world around me. Natural, social and all the other sorts of ways humanity breaks down existence on Earth. And having gone through a two dozen cycles and change, I understand my dependence on a bit of outward observation to get the self organized, or motivated, or somewhere other than falling down.
As I so elegantly phrased to my working crew last night-
I need to watch the natural world wither around me and die every year. That way, I can watch it impossibly and majestically come back to life. It’s the wildest sort of high.
Because I am not an organized worshiper, it is the might of the natural universe that makes me feel small. And to feel small, is not as terrible as you first might think. To start, there is not much more powerful of a story than that of the underdog, at least in my opinion. And to fill such requirements, one must have odds and abilities stacked against them.
But beyond that- to feel small is to feel free.
If we were these big, important things and all the universe was at the short end of our swinging dick- our prominence would be our shackles. Every move we make would be either true catastrophe, or supreme benevolence. We would never be able to explore or experiment. We would be trapped with the weight of impact of every decision.
But we are not big, important things. We are small. And our importance often stretches no further than a hometown. And it total, hardly beyond the planet. Aside the Golden Record.
And quite beautifully, that allows us the ability to do something like this. To read the words of another. One who is not on a specific mission, at least in this instance, other than to vaguely throw thoughts together on pixelated page until something hits the right aesthetic. And now these words are yours. To do with what you will. Even if that means they must be thrown away.
It’s a thing of nature, which we are at the mercy of. It sheds itself. Then consumes itself. Then blossoms. And again. And again. For longer than any one who will see these words will be around.
To start a year in the dead of winter may be brilliant. It certainly works quite well for your humble narrator. And starting around the vernal equinox would be cheating. Likely ineffective, as well.
And in this time of resolutions, we are admitting our own faults and conceiving ways of rectifying. But a growth, a change from a point of complacent standing does shit to inspire. Rock bottom tends to be a far better place to take off for grander, more profound and effective change. For the self, and otherwise.
Hence why the tropical paradise does not appeal to me. At least not in perpetuity. I don’t mind sand between my toes, but I will always need some snow on my boot, here and there.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about the rest of you fuckers.
Not the best of years, in ways we like to focus on. Diplomatically, economically, environmentally, socially, racially, and so many other factions of our species that you can get a doctorate specifically studying did not seem to do so hot. In the Western World, and beyond. Lotta hate. Whole lotta hate.
And even with all that talk about us being small and unimportant, you have to keep in mind that our whole species and planet are also small and unimportant. And though things of such stature don’t often affect the big and important stuff of the universe- it can certainly impact the other small and unimportant things.
If we were to destroy our planet, then the solar system, galaxy and so on, wouldn’t even blink. But if we do destroy our planet, which we can do in a whole mess of ways, we would cease to exist. Less than a fart to the whole of existence, but the tragic ending to all of Earth. Not how I believe we need to go.
But it seems to be so chaotic, you say? Well, such moments can be the best times for progress. There is a fever building in the guts of many around the world. For some, it has been bellowing for a while. But often we find ourselves in a fury with no way out in sight.
Now, I’m no wise man. Not yet. I’m still in my twenties. There is only so much I could have learned, thus far. But what I seem to have firmed up quite well is that in order to impact outward, you must feel the impact inward. ‘Tis from the self we start, and out to others we go. Finding one’s self is tricky, and often quite personal. Something shared in honest with only a few other humans and even there it is limited. It is the most unique thing that one can ever have, the inside of one’s own mind.
But as we go about discovering ourselves, we will run into those who are doing the same. And when voyagers cross paths, something will happen. Could be a nod. Could be a fight. Could be an attack or the start of a comradery. Small folks influencing other small folks.
And the wild thing that happens, often without us even realizing so, is that when all of us small folks start conversing and collaborating- or fighting, with other small folk, things bigger than ourselves can happen. A snowball effect, to be seasonal.
So, I don’t have the answers for the world. I don’t have them for myself yet either. Don’t worry, I’m not holding out.
But, I am working towards them. And thanks to the temperate climate I was born, live and likely will die in, I get this moment of winter silence to reflect upon the paths both up and down. And as I reflect, the future creeps in both mind and actuality. The ponderings of where to go seed and grow. Ponderings which turn to action, and other action that comes from elsewhere. From others, both grand and bad. And from other forces within proximity.
I have my plans. I have my schemes. And I have the knowledge that life is not always up to me.
Yet, sometimes, some ways- it is. And there I shall start the focus. But as mentioned before, the underdog story appeals greatly. So much so, that I still believe I’ll be giving such endeavors a try. In this new year. And those after, for as long as I can muster the might. Perhaps, even a bit further than that.
You are welcome to do the same, if you feel the urge.