Thursday, September 5, 2013
Today is the first day of the Jewish New Year, and it certainly feels like a new year to me. I much prefer the idea of starting the new year in September instead of January 1. It just makes so much more sense.
To start with, I think it's practical to begin the new year with the start of a new season, not right in the middle of one. The beginning of September marks the start of fall everywhere in the northern hemisphere (and spring in the southern hemisphere!). To me, fall and spring are critical seasons, when things truly change. Let's face it, summer is just the fulfillment of spring's promises, and winter is just an outright manifestation of old Mother Nature finally falling deeply into a sleep after she started nodding off on the sofa throughout most of September/October. But spring and fall are where it all begins.
I also like the idea that here on the northern part of the planet, we begin the new year with a period of dormancy, observed in the darkness of longer nights and shorter days. It's just like mammalian life itself, which begins in the womb and develops, unseen, in the darkness and watery quiet of the womb, over several months. The heart, the spine, and fingers and toes of embryonic life all develop inside a mother's body before she may even know she is carrying a child. Plants likewise germinate and grow most at night, when temperatures are lower and stresses are less. Even our plans and projects usually start with a mental planning phase, where you noodle on several ideas until one makes its way forward, out of the dark recesses of your consciousness and into reality.
And so it is with the new year. We enter a period of rest, reflection and rejuvenation, so that once winter's freeze finally leaves us, we are ready to begin anew, active, alive and exploding with visible growth.
And so... here we go, into the new year, and into the gathering darkness and cold, where life lies dormant, but developing, and where we gather ourselves by the fire, keep warm, and formulate our plans for what is to come.