|Kadomatsu -- New Year's decoration|
courtesy of Ignis, Wikipedia.
White paper braid, bright orange and pine on a black wrought iron gate. Frost crystals swirling from my mouth into the inky black night. The voices of the bells vibrating in the bones of my chest, incense sweetening every breath. A silent prayer held in the heart, growing, growing until it forces its way out into the world. The feeling of communion and community in this small space of suspended time when I can, just, believe that the New Year forming will be better, more peaceful and beautiful than the dying one. A strong wish that my contribution to that making will help it be so.
A long-needled pine tree dressed in old family ornaments, sweet ginger ale and fiddle music on TV for a midnight toast with my mother. The moon hanging over the black water, bright ladder of light. A wish for health and happiness passes between us and my mother's smile seems to stretch back to her youth. Time passing is still our friend in this moment. The New Year is welcome in our living room.
When New Year's comes, even this many years after leaving Japan, my thoughts travel to the people and places I left behind. I am a visiting spirit, like Scrooge drifting over the remembered landscape, settling here and there for another look, a chance to revisit and consider. Like the better, changed Scrooge, I keep the traditions. I look for the first sunrise. I make mochi and the white miso soup called ozoni for my mother. I eat soba noodles for luck. And I still pray in my heart, suspending disbelief for this small moment, for peace in the world, the health and happiness of my family, and you in this coming year. May 2013 bless us, every one.