January 2014

looking back & thresholds

. lookingback2013mosaic

A sort-of circle of last year’s photographs…the upper left corner is January and circling ’round to the right through the months and me feeding the hens their treat of oatmeal porridge on Christmas morning in the very center. As I typed the words for the title of this post, I remembered the wording on a birthday card I used to make…

“Pleas’d to look forward,

pleas’d to look behind,

 and count each birthday with a grateful mind.”

I do feel the same about the years, as they turn, but there is more to count than gratitude, tho’ I can probably say truthfully it is always first. But I count the year past also with a confused mind, a struggling heart, and a perplexed spirit…none of which tidily disappeared as I closed the door on December. Here we are, really, on the threshold of January 2014. I’ve seen it typed in black and white several times today (tho’ I have yet to write it myself!), but it doesn’t seem quite real to me yet…I am still hovering in the doorway.

But even as I write that, I realize my folly. Why do we think we think that it will be so very different when we cross a threshold? Sometimes, perhaps. But oftentimes, we may find a new room that is very much like the old room, with all the same possibilities of beauty and disorder, comfort and poor lighting, lovely company awaiting us or cat fur to scrape off the sofa before we can sit.

birdgirl

And why do I always believe I should be ready, when I almost never feel so? I feel just the same as I did a year ago when I posted this in January….well, not just the same, of course. I’ve had a year’s worth of experiences and feelings in the meantime. The challenges that make me want to shut the door awhile are different. But perhaps if I start to believe that I don’t have to be “ready” to cross these thresholds, or that what I find on the other side of it will necessarily be that astonishing or bright or better…I won’t keep starting the New Year from a sick bed.

Perhaps, I will learn to just acknowledge that it is a threshold for me, at the turn of the year. I’ve always loved the word and the idea of it, but have never really known its origin or meaning. And a quick peruse of my dictionary leaves me with a mystery about it…and I rather like that. So…

Here I am on the threshold…I can and do look back at what I am leaving…I put my hand on the door, look through the glass, wonder what I will find on the other side…perhaps while I linger, I may carve a blessing in the wood of the lintel…but all that is really required is that I am brave enough to take the step…yes?

glasshousedoorway

That is all that is required of any of us.

Shall I wish you a Happy New Year, or brave stepping?

I shall just wish you both.

.