I picture each year as a clock with colors. The year itself is written in the center of the clock. There are no other numbers. January is at twelve o’clock and the months go counter clockwise. Every year I look forward to each color and the time periods they represent and the possibilities they present.
January, February and March are bright yellow. Yellow represents the light of hope and dreams of the new year. The slate has been wiped clean and it is time to start anew. I don’t make New Years resolutions, I just make a list of things I want to do and I do them. If I find myself getting off course, I try again.
April, May and June are green signifying new life, growth, renewal and the season of Easter. Winter turns to spring as the ice begins to melt. Humans and animals emerge from hibernation, plagued with cabin fever from a long winter, eager to get outside. Green is everywhere. New grass grows and plants and flowers are in bloom adding color to dull branches of winter.
July, August and September are orange. These are longer days with suffocating summer heat, time spent out doors and colorful sunsets. I enjoy that feeling of freedom I get when I put on my favorite summer cloths, shorts, tank top and flip flops. My favorite part of orange is spending a long day on the water, soaking up sunshine, making mental notes of every detail, inhaling the smell of the water and being thankful that I am there.
October, November and December are blue gray and the darkest days in my year. There is a chill in the air as the sky darkens early. The colder it gets the more I smell people’s fireplaces when I walk my dog in the cold night air. I cook hearty meals and enjoy early pajama time when I can. I often feel like I’ve been hit by a train during this time period. My life becomes consumed with my children’s back to school and fall school activities. Fall flies by and pretty soon it is black Friday and the chaos of the holiday season begins. The quick transition between fall activities and the holidays is what makes this time dark for me. I often feel like I don’t have time to catch my breath before the ridiculousness of holiday shopping begins.The meaning of Christmas has blown out of proportion by retail stores and the emphasis on the birth Jesus Christ is lost.
My last blog post was on October 18, 2015 during the darkness of the blue gray time. Fall activities were going at full force and occupying several evenings of each week. My days at work were busy and we were swimming in my son’s college applications. Soon it was Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. With each added responsibility, my mental clarity, creativity and desire to write deflated like a tired balloon days after a birthday party. I spent my downtime watching television and reading. This year wasn’t as bad as some though and I somehow managed to get through the holiday season without a temper tantrum.
In early December I attended a holiday brass concert at a local cathedral here in Baltimore. The music was moving and uplifting and the scent of the incense of the cathedral reminded me of the many Christmas Eves I spent in midnight mass when I was growing up. My heart was suddenly filled with the desire to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I was determined to attend this year and I did just that.
As I sat in the wooden pew, admired the decorated alter and waited for mass to begin, I thought of my grandmother. My grandmother cried every year during Christmas Eve mass because her own mother died of a massive heart attack while walking home in the snow after Christmas Eve midnight mass when my grandmother was only nine. Despite her own pain, my grandmother always managed to make Christmas special for us and I hoped that six Christmases after her own death she’d be proud to find me in church on Christmas Eve after a long absence.
I inhaled the familiar, comforting smells of incense of the Catholic Church. I pictured myself being present at the birth of Jesus Christ. I sang in celebration and listened carefully to the Priest’s sermon, savoring every word. It’s the best Christmas gift I’d ever given myself and it gave me the faith to believe all things are possible in the upcoming year.
I have no regrets of the year 2015. I’ve learned valuable lessons, tried new things and built a foundation for things I’d like to continue in 2016. Today, December 31, 2015 as the blue gray darkness of December fades into the bright yellow light of January 1, 2016, I’ll carry out my hopes and dreams of the new year by remembering what the angel said to Mary prior to Jesus’s birth, “Do not be afraid”.
Happy New Year.