It begins with a gentle lightening of the horizon. No more than a hint of what is to come. So subtle and gradual is the beginning that it is not always recognized for what it is. It could be the lights of a nearby town or the harsh beacons of a highway. It couldn’t be the dawn. Could it?
There is something magical about the moment when night changes to day. That precise moment is calculated and published in newspapers. The longest and shortest days are celebrated as solstices. Even birds become silent in reverence for that moment.
Then it pounces. Minute by minute the sky evolves and suddenly a new day is born. Each one begins in a different way. Sometimes it’s a symphony of light and shadow blending brush strokes of crimson and pink over a dark, dusky blue. Always changing, never waiting until the camera is in the right place, never hesitating for “just one more picture”.
And sometimes the dawning is cold and dreary. Black drains from the sky to reveal a gray, monochromatic world, as if it were veiled to the eye. Trees float into focus as the minutes silently pass.
When enough of the new light filters through, the day begins in earnest. The wind picks up, birds begin to sing, and people move about. Suddenly, it’s another day.
The dawning of the New Year has always been a time of hope, a new beginning. There is the feeling that no matter how dark and dismal the past has been this day is the first day of the rest of your life. It is a chance to start fresh. Past mistakes don’t count.
But why this day? Why do we not celebrate it on the first day of spring? Or on the day of the first new moon? The fact that different countries and religions celebrate it on different days tells us that it’s not the particular day that is important. It’s the feelings we associate with it. So wouldn’t it be nice if we made a fresh start every morning as the sun slips past the horizon to banish the dark corners of our lives?
Happy New Year. Happy new day.