Hooray for January 2nd! Just another day. Nothing to celebrate, no special traditions or ritual gestures, no expected social gatherings. The pressure’s off. Just wake up and the day is yours!
Of course, I love Holidays and all the added color, music, binge eating, parties and general fal-de-ra. But the only thing that makes them colorful is the contrast with the earth tones and muted grays of the usual day-to-day. So after this month of constant trumpet-blaring reds and greens, it’s nice to wake up to grey. I didn’t even turn on the lights of the Christmas tree this morning.
New Year’s Day itself is a high-pressure day for me and it’s my fault. I treat it like the opening theme of the year’s symphony, the jazz tune that I’ll improvise through the changes with for 364 bars. So I take extra care that day to live properly to set the tone for all the days to follow.
I began with a longer-than-usual Zen meditation that included chanting all the way through the Sutra book. Some stretching, oatmeal breakfast, my three Solitaire games with my new deck of cards (and won two of them!). Then listen to Bach’s Cello suites, play Bach’s French Suites and write a blog about Bach. Also write a paragraph in my next book-to-be (part of my New Year's Resolution!). On to e-mail, make a summary of my Fall school classes and send it to the Interns now Externs, transcribe a new Ghanaian xylophone piece and start to plan my workshop coming up next Saturday. Almond butter and banana sandwich on hearty whole wheat bread and out the door to walk in the park. Crisp cold air with a wind-chill factor, walk around Stowe Lake and sit in the sun and memorize a poem by Seamus Heaney. Write in my journal, read a bit of Jane Hirshfield’s book on how poetry transforms the world and my current novel, Lucy Barton. Home to cook a stir fry with brown rice, do a Crostic puzzle, write in my granddaughter Zadie's journal and watch one of the first film noir movies, Stranger on the Third Floor.
And so a day where I ate well, exercised, played music, listened to music, read fiction, non-fiction and poetry, memorized a poem, meditated, prepared classes, watched a classic film and more felt like a good start to the year. None of it was a chore, all of it was a pleasure, but still nice to have the pressure off and know I can mess up today—eat some chocolate, sit indoors too long, not read a poem—and there won’t be too many repercussions down the line. Except there will be if I keep neglecting the tried, true and important. Let’s face it—every day should be New Year’s Day, vows renewed and scrubbed and turned on. I’m going to think about that while I lie down and take a nap.
Happy January 2nd!