In With the New

Weather and other conditions being favorable, my New Year’s ritual is a solitary walk on our snow-covered pasture—a small pasture, a leisurely walk. If the day should be a cloudless one, bright and cold, all the better. The first day of the year is a door, a gateway, the invisible border of an uncharted country.

Something in me loves the demarcation of a beginning: the blank pages of a new notebook, the desk calendar before it is covered with appointment times—and this pasture with its cleanly sculpted snow banks, the evergreens casting their blue shadows across the snow.

Come closer, my dear. There are rabbit tracks everywhere. I used to see this crisscross of tracks and imagine the rabbits playing tag with each other by the light of the moon. Older now, I think of each creature urgently searching out the next bit of food. In either case, the rabbits’ tracks and the delicate penciled tracks of birds announce to me that I am not the first to explore the uncharted country of a new year. Thus a cherished solitude gives way to a companionable and shared silence, which is, after all, the deepest kind.

Poet Marilyn Dorf allows her readers to share in such a silence:

Midnight. Snow.
And nothing but a rabbit
runs the white and rutted road.

The way a dream escapes at night
and scampers crazily along
the fluted chambers

of a mind gone soft with sleep.

The reader “gets” the emptiness of the landscape with only a barely few details, “gets,” too, the aloneness of the rabbit on what has become its road. The reader is invited into an experience. Although I am surprised to come upon fluted chambers, there’s the sudden pleasure of recognition. Yes, dreaming is like this. I know.

This journal, which cannot yet claim a full year of existence—it began in late January, 2012—is likely full of musing and muttering. It makes no announcements or proclamations. Think of these writings as so many rabbit tracks across the fields you walk and the country you explore in the coming year. We will be companions, then.

“Night Flight,” Marilyn Dorf, Nebraska Poets Calendar, Black Star Press, 2012.  Quoted with permission of the author.

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