I use a paper calendar, not an electronic device, for planning, and I can flip back through the pages and see the things I had to keep track of before I took early retirement and moved, finally, back to New Mexico. I can see the to-do list of the transition, too, and the schedules and plans in my new life. The year was significant, but the days more significant. Each of those little squares was life lived. Interactions, connections, experiences. Each of those little squares was a day when I kept certain commitments no matter what else was going on: yoga, meditation, and writing. My life has felt more circular than linear, and since I have occasional precognitive dreams, I question the perception of time as a step-by-step passage, with clear lines between past, present and future like those little squares that organized 2017.
There are many New Year’s rituals in which people let go of their past habits or troubles and embrace something new and positive. One such ritual is an interactive art installation in the ladies’ room at the T or C Brewery. The one before it used maps, and invited the women passing through the space to add notes about where they had been and places that affected them. The one for the New Year is a figure with messages accumulating on her, letting-go and turning-toward intentions. She will be burned, like Zozobra, in February.
A small spaceship full of hopes and wishes will go up on New Year’s Eve from Healing Waters Plaza at the time of the Ascent of the Turtle, T or C’s uplifting variation on dropping the ball in Times Square. (I have no idea what this little spaceship is—I’ll find out and report back.) I like the imagery of both these rituals, and yet I can’t think of anything to add to them, not a message to set afire or one to send out to the universe.
Though I’ve I learned from my past, I seldom think about it. There’s more behind me than in front of me, but what’s ahead is more important. And what’s now is most important of all.
A book I’ve read a few times and no doubt will read again is No Word for Time by Evan Pritchard. The author, of Micmac descent, visits a tribal elder in Canada to study his ancestral culture and language. He asks the words for various things, and of course, asks the word for time. How would you react to the answer, there is no word for time?