The new year.

We have gone a year since this last marker-day.

While I like the custom of looking both forward and back, reflecting, both sides of the coin, invoking the two-faced god Janus, I find the timing perplexing.

If we keep to the idea of twelve days of Christmas, starting on solstice, then we’re done with it today, yes? Does that explain the timing? Twelve lords a-leaping, today, all the way back to the partridge in the pear tree.

We’ve celebrated the return of the light for twelve days and now it’s time to welcome the new year?

Reasonable. But it’s so abstract.

The feel is odd.

It’s as gray and rainy and flat as it was two days ago, two weeks ago. There’s no change on the horizon, either. The new year, right in the middle of a sleeping season.

The changing horizon is March, which matches more to the astrological calendar. Buds blooming, new grasses, softenings everywhere. Aries, the start of the Mesopotamian astrological cycle. I’m no astrologer, I’m not going deep on this here, but that timing has the right feel to it: it’s a new year because all is NEW.

Lambs born, magnolia in bloom, warm sunshine returning.

So while I welcome this moment to reflect and plan, I also feel nervous staring out at another expanse of gray. There’s another eight weeks of it. The excitement, the platform of visceral newness isn’t here to support my own growth urges: I have to look within for all of it, and that’s tough in a gray, flat time. In fact, the outside world has a very gray horizon for well beyond eight weeks.

Maybe that’s the two-facedness right now: new, not new. Each day is new and not new.