Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Auld Lang Syne Blues

yahoo image, 2013 Sydney Fireworks.
Beautiful shot of Opera House, lots of memories.
New Year's Eve has become over time just another day. The exuberant celebrations, from Sydney to Budapest, Dubai to London to New York City, are fun to watch but not as exciting as they used to be. What comes to mind is Shakespeare's "full of sound and fury," but the awesome festivities do, after all, signify something: the inexorable passage of time.

New Year's Eve once packed a punch, the night to party with friends and lovers; to dress up, put on high heels and bright lipstick, don silly hats and blow colorful streamers into floating crystal balls. The champagne flowed to cacophonous strains of "Auld Lang Syne."  We didn't know all the words, but it didn't matter.

Some years I crowded in with friends and neighbors on the top of the Cairo condo where I lived, the tallest building in Washington and responsible for the height ordinance, or on the top of a high rise coop in New York City, and watched stunning fireworks displays. Unforgettable. There were concerts on the Mall, dinner and great jazz at Blues Alley in DC.  It seemed sinful in those times past to spend such nights alone, to be an observer in front of a television and not a participant in the merrymaking. The exuberance, the anticipation, drew you out. In Florida we sat on beach chairs, without coats or jackets, on the balmy shores of Tampa Bay or the Gulf, sipping wine under a full moon, the palm trees swaying, the lights of holiday decorations aglow, the sounds of  the ocean soothing our souls.

yahoo image, Kiev 2013, a city that holds a special
place in my heart.
Some of the best celebrations came in unexpected ways and places: in New Delhi, in Rome, in Kyiv, in Luxor, Egypt, in Istanbul, in San Miguel de Allende. Last year it was San Miguel with my grandson Josh. Closer to home, I remember being with my mom, sister and brother in Tallahassee, Florida, on the night that 1999 turned into 2000 and a new century was born.  That was precious. "I didn't think I'd live to see it," our mom said.  She was growing frail, but she glowed at the thought. A new year's eve etched in forever.

I'm feeling now like my mom must have felt then. I've made it this far, with the help of others,  but as a new year arrives, I'm coasting. It's just another turn of the clock.  I don't have to do anything. I'm lucky if I can stay up to 12 midnight.

It sounds like the Auld Lang Syne Blues.  Well, maybe it is. On the other hand, it's more reflection than depression, more wonder than skepticism. I'm wondering, in amazement, at the passing years, at the speed of the passage of time and the ongoing long journey into another new year. And I remind myself how grateful I am that it is so.

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