Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘New Year’

Farewell 2017

Depth of Winter

Outside there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping. All of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the Dream World, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge. 

 -Reif Larson

Remind me why we do this


December 30 First



All around lie the remnants of summer and fall.

These dry brown grasses, the tall and the small.

On Thursday Trail

Each conifer stretches, the low and the high,

Each stretches in vain its limbs to the sky.

Winter Sun

The sun swings low in its arc, non-chalant,

Neglecting her Earthbound petits-enfants.

Tug Hill snow

Tug Hill Snow

The Snow comes to slumber, and lumber around

Packing the Earth to hard, frozen ground.

Snow Devils

Smoke from chimneys dances and twirls, 

Having never seen the Summer World.

Fire ring

I’ll shutter the windows, put logs on the fire,

And patiently wait for the year to expire.

Sharon Center Sunset

As into the pink night sky sets the sun,

Another year’s ended, as another’s begun.


Best of fortune to all in the new (paper) year.


Seek peace,



Welcome the New Year!

Solstice Sun

A circle is one of the most common shapes in our Great Cosmos (silica-based crystal chain structures right behind), and it is today our New Circle begins. In my view, today begins the new year. As our almost-perfect circle planet revolves around its perfect-circle sun in a far-from-perfect ellipse of an orbit, the Winter Solstice marks the top of the curve. Now days begin to lengthen incrementally for the next six moons until we reach the opposite end of our rolling year, and the longest day of Summer Solstice.

This marks a point on my journey. Like returning to home port, or passing the same old oak on a favorite trail. It is an ending and beginning in a single stroke. It is a benchmark, a touchstone, a point along a very long line when I make a hash mark as I hurtle past. There’s a slight thrill seeing the 57 past hash marks, and a certain excitement as I reach out, take a swing, and hang on for another orbit, another grand circle in the concentric and overlapping circles that make up the life of an old Armchair Zen master.

Not only is the New Year commenced, but also the “official” season of winter. Life in a Northern Town takes winter in stride. Not only passively, but in tangible and active ways. The Yankee winter is an integral part of our lives. It serves a great purpose for those of us that will undertake the understanding of it. It’s a trial and a test and a testament to our spirits. Not just surviving winter, bit thriving within and through it.

Each year, our Earth sort of throws down a gauntlet. Each year, we rise to the challenge and pick it up. It’s not all about active young people oblivious to cold and snow, skiing the High Peaks and snowmobiling 27 miles up the frozen Sacandaga Lake. It’s about the everyday and the mundane. Firing furnaces, sealing up drafts, shoveling the steps. Getting out the “Let It Snow” box filled with hats and gloves and scarves and mittens. It’s about getting to work when it’s 18 degrees and there’s four inches of snow on the road and it’s forecast to fall all day. It’s about walking the dog and fetching the mail from the box, checking the car’s oil and unloading the wood pellets while frigid air tries to sneak in around your collar, while your fingers grow numb with cold.

And when winter is done, there’s more reward than the flowers of spring and the return of American Robins. Even for those that may be unaware, surviving and thriving through a Yankee winter reminds us of just how strong we are. A reminder that gives us the strength to carry on for another year, another wonder-filled lap around our atomic anchor.

I have a covenant with winter. A vow to honor and cherish and forsake all other seasons when she comes to call, all gleaming and silver. I welcome and embrace her with open arms. Revere her. Laud her beauty. In return, she brings me gifts.

A quadrillion snowflakes. Vast tracts of ice-covered ponds and lakes.

Glazed hoarfrost dawns and golden ice-ringed sunsets.

Birds, the color of summer flowers, blue and red, black and white and yellow.

Like the migrations of fall or tulips of spring, she returns faithfully each year to me. She covers me with her downy quilt and beckons me to slumber.

Yet within each hour are wonders, joys and beauties to behold. Adventures to seek as only Dear Winter can oblige.

She calls me forth from my den, to drink it all in.

Before it is gone.


Happy New Year, and Merry Christmas to those that observe it.

May the peace of the Cosmos find you and keep you throughout the year.



Happy New Year!

Solstice Day

Solstice Day

Contrary to popular belief, today is New Year’s Eve.

“What?” you’re thinking, “has Paz lost it? Is he in another time zone?”

My time zone is the cosmos, and at 6:03 pm on the 21st of December is the winter solstice. Happy New Year!

I live in the world, not in a paper calendar.

I live by sun and moon and stars.

My only clock is the universe, ever-expanding and ancient, yet consistent, predictable and comfortable here on my tiny rock, out here near the edge of an arm of the Milky Way.

Days get shorter from the celebrated Longest Day in June. Thinking of today, the Shortest Day, in early summer, brings perspective to this time thing.

“Here we go.” I’ll say to Chuy, on June the 22nd, “it’s downhill from here.”

Yet it is now, at the winter solstice, that this viewpoint is truly appreciated.

Some may say we’re entering winter.

Some may say we’ll have months of bleak, cold, frozen darkness before our world becomes alive again.

Some mourn the passing of summer and fall.

Snow on Pines

Snow on Pines

Some look to their paper universe for a graphic representation of the remainder of their sentences.

January, February, March and April, the days stacked like snowflakes, snow drifts that must be tunneled through, frozen expanses of ice that must be traversed. Hunkered down, shuttered in, braced for cold, rigged for storms. The now and the next filled with taxing burdens, dangers even.

Here at Holiday House, there is a celebration going on.

Tomorrow our tiny, insignificant rock crosses an imaginary line, riding its little disc in the plane of our solar system.

Today the famous North Pole, still days from the launch of the Big Red Sled, leans away from our little orange star. We spin on our top, to days that are a few, dimly lit hours up there in caribou country, in the land of igloos and polar bears.

Crossing the Equator

Crossing the Equator

Here in the northeast US, sunlight works a day shorter than mine, but that’s about to change!

Happy New Year, as from this day ’til June, each day will be a little brighter. Each day brings us closer to treasures stowed for winter. Leaves and flowers and summer tanagers. Shirtsleeve weather, swimming, wading the pond for bass.

Frankly, the Julian calendar makes no sense to me. In this forced-labeling of order invented by humans, this clock and calendar record-keeping mindset, the ancients even deferred to the cosmos. The 24 hours divided by 6’s. The 28 days of the moon, seven times four, the weeks of a lunar month.

But somewhere, somehow, somebody thought the universe, the great cosmic clocks, could be relegated to paper, bound by calfskin.

Let’s randomly add a few extra days to our lunar months. Let’s add a whole day every four years because the universe will not coöperate, and change to fit our needs. Let’s ignore the giant flaming atomic ball burning a scant 94 million miles away. Let’s ignore the equator and the moon, and we’ll call New Year’s day, oh, I dunno, how does “January First” sound?

Gosh! January First! It sounds so beginning-like! Great name. On which point shall we place it?

Spring Equinox, when the waistband of our world swings past zero and the warmth of the sun climbs the latitudes?

Summer solstice? A New Year’s Day to mark the countdown to this very same point next year, the strawberry moon and the bursting of everything green and growing?

How about the Autumnal Equinox, as our hemisphere takes down all the green decorations, shuts down the machines of growth and expansion, admonishes mammals to “Prepare!”?

It seems Winter Solstice might be the best choice for your holiday. This is truly the day that begins our march into a new year.

From here, each day is longer, we’re making gains. Each day is a looking-forward to good changes. The relief at the end of winter, no matter how much you’ve enjoyed the season. The breaking of spring, turning the soil, planting and growing. Long days of summer, all the outdoors time you could want. The luxuriating under the starfield, lying on the lawn and watching for shooting stars.

Yes. This is without a doubt, the beginning of my New Year.

You may not hear from me tomorrow, as I’ll be celebrating tonight.

And tomorrow, Chuy and I will be out in it with a renewed fervor, calling to the sun, “Come on back!”. We’ll measure that extra moment at sunset.

From this tiny speck on this tiny rock, to anywhere the call can be heard:

Happy New Year!


Be at peace,



December 30 first

December 30 firstAll around lie the remnants of summer and fall,
These dry brown grasses, the tall and the small.
Each conifer stretches, the low and the high,
Each stretches, in vain, its limbs to the sky.

The sun hangs low in it’s arc, non-chalant,
Neglecting her earthbound petites enfants.
Cold comes to slumber and lumber around,
Packing the earth to hard frozen ground.

Smoke from chimneys dances and twirls,
Having never seen the summer world.
I shutter the window, and put logs on the fire,
As I patiently wait for the year to expire.

As into the pink night sky sets the sun,
Another year ends, as another’s begun.

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