January named after Janus, Roman god of gates, passages and archways; god of beginnings and transitions. Janus, of the two faces. I think of Janus as I play catch up with friends. I think of Janus as I rush through a third (or is it fifth?) draft of a short story I started in October of last year. I think of Janus as I hurry from one appointment to another even though I only return to work next week and this week should be a time of relaxation and reflection.
So I try. To relax. To reflect. I give it my best shot. I find myself alone, looking at the cold glass eye of Rice Lake, high up on the side of a mountain and with notebook in hand try to shape sentences out of what I am seeing; what I’m feeling. But I am not seeing and just as frustration sets in, he arrives. A seagull. Tripping, I think or lost.
He watches me with curious black eye.
I capture him on my mobile.
The longer we sit there daring each other to move, the more I realize the more I look, the less I see.
Habit is good but it is also really bad. Here’s the problem with habit: it stops us from seeing or perceiving things as they really are. The Horsechestnut tree in the garden has become yet another tree composed of trunk and leaves, the banana in the fruit bowl just another piece of fruit and the seagull – bless him – another bird of feather and bone.
Our family, friends, nature, art – all lose their complexity and gloss. This year I resolve to see things anew. This year I commit to WONDER and ATTENTION. I commit to finding enthusiasm like a child does, devouring whole continents and discovering shells, centipedes, crayons, fossils, piazzas, dunes, comets, thunderclaps, geraniums and craft and words…more words. I want to be alert. I want to be astounded by the world.
What are you committed to changing or doing this year?