Wishing You A Happy New Year
As adults it is easy to become too dutiful. Deep down in many of us is a yearning to run off with the circus…or something equally flamboyant. We want to throw off our shackles. We look into a irridescent aquariaum in a swanky corporate reception area, and suddenly long to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. When a child throws a tantrum in a supermarket we occasionally envy them. We too want the chocolate and cookies and fizzy sugar loaded drinks. We want a Smartie Party! Searching for bargain slabs of mature cheedar cheese just seems too…. mature. Sometimes we all feel what Yeats called ‘the cry of the heart against necessity’.
So it’s no wonder that the Wind In The Willows is one of my favourite children’s classics. It starts with Mole abandoning his spring cleaning. The bigger world is summoning him imperiously. He leaves his whitewashing without a second glance. I have experienced many similar moments. So many times I have dearly longed to dash out the door and leave behind tasks such as drafting complicated reports, filing or scrubbing the kitchen. ‘Yippee!’ I want to cry as I scurry towards Tuscany. Yes, why not go to Italy right now? It’s a refreshing thought anyway. One that sends a tangerine blast of elsewhere through the room. Out. I know I need to get out. Later. Maybe to the beach and an Italian cappuccino in a seacape cafe. Watching the waves glide and stretch. Embrace the shore…and leave it. At times like that what I really want is for everything to feel fresh and new again. Pristine and without my footprints. Like childhood snow.
Woooosh. That was the silent sound of it. A white carpet that had landed overnight. Silent. Still. New. Transforming. Cold too…but I didn’t mind.. I want to be out in it. Feeling its crunch, its curve and tingle. Its strangeness. I wanted to tumble into its softness. Hold it. Throw it. Taste it too. It might be gone soon. Rush…to get get dressed in woolies, coat, mittens, hat, gumboots. Magic. Yes, that’s what snow felt like. A familiar place had become elsewhere. New again.
These days snow has a very different meaning for me. Yes, I appreciate its beauty, but not its inconvenience. The grubby slush on city pavements. The turned up thermostats. The delays to transport. The nip in the air. It is not new snow it is old snow. I know it now. Or at least I think I do. Because that’s what happens as we grow older. We have footprints. A past that can dilute the present, if we let it. Sunshine, snowdrops and spring. We feel we know them. And yet we don’t. Not as they are this time. A child would know that. To allow things to be new again. A sort of adventure.
Wriggle…that’s what my mother’s pug pups used to do when I held them as a girl. Wriggle and squirm…their fawn coloured paws gently thrashing the air. They wanted to be off somewhere. They were enthusiastic…about everything it seemed. Unless they were asleep. Sometimes they lay contently on their backs displaying their sweet plump pink bellies. All young animals have it, and many older ones too. That excitement in sheer existence. Each walk is embarked on as though it is the first one ever. Food…wow. Even if it’s the same old chunks from a tin they scoff it down. Relishing every morsel. Whatever their past is they are open to love, if it is offered gently. It seems they are born with the secret of spring, but we have to learn it all over again each time we forget it. And take our first coltish steps towards beauty. As green shoots rise through the dark earth. And their flowers open for the first time.
Wishing you a happy New Year.
Lots of love,