Joy for the New Year!

I know … after not blogging for few months – here I come with a second post in three days!

Between you and me – consistency has never been my strong suit. I blame me it on restless and relentless mind! That in addition to a holiday season, meaning – some free time at last!

Now to the real reason for this post – in a word – sheer joy!

Yep – that’s right! As the popular song goes – ‘don’t believe me just watch!’ Or in our case – read, since, luckily, you can’t see me (luckily because I am typing this in my nighty and no it is not the one suitable for audiences!).

So why joy you may ask!

Shall I tell you? Oh, ok then here goes:

New Year has arrived to New Zealand’s shores already and with the spectacular fireworks over the Wellington harbour which I watched from my balcony with a glass of chilled Riesling in hand while trying to establish any kind of conversation with my daughter who was (judging by the noises over the phone) having hell of a good time with her mates in Queenstown (the suspicion has since been confirmed as true – good on her I say and can’t wait to see her tomorrow and hear all about it!).

Today (1 January 2016) was an absolutely amazing summer day! Living in Wellington you learn to appreciate and treasure such days like your family’s most precious heirlooms! So, just like everyone else, I trotted down to the beach and here is what I found there:

WP_20160101_003.jpg

Well half of Wellington at least!

We all (that is to say who ever was perched on the sand next to you/passing by, etc) wished each other happy New Year and thank God (Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, etc.) for the weather. In our hearts of hearts, we all knew it would not last – so offering sincere gratefulness to our respective gods was in hope to prolong it even if just for a few more days!

Everyone ventured or was coaxed to swim (yours truly included -:)! As soon as sea reaches your ankles – shivering starts! Never mind that minor annoyance; with assorted degrees of speed and variations of; ‘oh isn’t it lovely once you get in’ – we all made it! Yours truly even swam past floating pontoons and small boats which, I will have you know, almost qualifies as swimming in the open sea!

On the way back from this glorious escapade, I climbed on the tiny space still available on the pontoon and indulged in listening sounds. Yes, sounds – not words or snippets of conversations. No one person spoke in English! Amongst lively conversations and laughter, I could recognize German, Italian, Spanish, French and most likely Chinese.

I will take the risk of sounding rather cheese here – but I truly felt overwhelmed by joy and gratefulness in that moment … for so much;

For being alive and reasonably healthy,

For New Zealand … this tiny speck of dirt in the mighty Pacific ocean;

  • where total strangers will ask you to come ‘over for a drink’ for no other reason but because it is Christmas/New Year,
  • where you can leave your belongings safely on the beach for hours without a fear of losing them,
  • where people from all over the world come to stay and are made welcome regardless of their religion, race, sexual orientation,
  • where there are no drone strikes,
  • no crazed members of Islamic State threatening to cut my, or anyone’s else head off,
  • no famine (ocean is brimming with fish if all else fails),
  • no recession (not like seen elsewhere in any case),
  • no Donald Trump trying to take the country over and, rumour has it – Vladimir Putin may not even know we are on the planet (thank God),
  • where my daughter can go to University without fear of being taken hostage or killed.

I do love you New Zealand!

Have a Happy, Safe and Peaceful 2016 Everyone!

In a words of an old Greek: ‘Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.’ (Epicurus)

Thank you everyone for reading the Lantern!

January

In January, year is still young. Like a blushing bride; coquettishly hiding under the exquisitely delicate veil of possibilities, hopes and dreams, allowing but a tiniest glimpse into the future … eleven months of it yet to come.

Oh how we would love to unveil even the smallest corner, if only to take a peek into the unknown … into that which is yet to come.

Still; sometimes on the account of belief that future is not something already created for us, but rather something we are to create for ourselves and as such it cannot be glanced at, and sometimes on the account of belief that neither is the knowledge of the future given to us, nor it would do us any good to know what awaits us, we resign ourselves, (with various degrees of success), to the unknown.

While burdened with uncertainty, the unknown also holds promise, and with promise comes hope. Hope is what all the futures are made of. Even those that turn out bleak or undesirable, or even heartbreaking, once started as a shiny new hope. Hope is as essential to humans as is breathing air. Cessation of hope inevitably results in annihilation.  As history of humans shows; all dictators, as well as all clergy always knew that.

No other month of the year heralds our need for hope more vividly than January. While the month of the year might be different for different cultures and in different parts of the globe, the quintessential hope for better future at the beginning of each new year remains the same.

With annual celebrations of fare-welling the old and welcoming the new year over, we, mostly in western world, set out to de – clutter, detoxify/de -(insert whatever applies) our surroundings, and ‘healthify’ our lives by myriad of means. We declare ‘final’ ban on all our ‘sins’; over-eating, over-drinking, over-spending, over-sitting, over-(insert whatever applies).

Some make long lists, and set measurable goals, progress towards which is to be measured, preferably on colorful diagrams, throughout the year. Others declare to be fed up with all that nonsense and make resolution to not make ‘New Year Resolution.’

Popular media bursts with helpful articles on ‘How to Keep Your New Year Resolution Alive’, while shop windows display laud banners enticing us to join ‘New Year, New You’ frenzy, which of course cannot be embarked upon without the products designed to help us reach our new selves in no time and with minimal or no effort, (unsurprisingly; higher the price of the product – the less time/effort is required from us -:)!

Here in my little corner of the world, which a dear blogging friend of mine christened ‘Hobbiton’, January comes in the height of our summer, which of course means long holidays for most working people and our children.

As it is their nature, holidays lull us into that dreamy state when everything is possible, so our hopes, as well as our ‘resolutions’ live a bit longer. At least until we return to our daily grind, usually at the end of January, when first rains cool the air and obligatory shorts and jandals beach uniforms are swapped once again for the work-suitable-attires.

Be that as it may, while I am writing these lines, January is only little bit more than half way gone, so just like most of my counterparts, I am inclined to push those images to the very corner of my mind … after all there is a whole year ahead of me!

Not being ‘resolutions’ making type; my hopes and dreams remain rather simple and ordinary … as such they might have little bit more chance to translate into reality! Besides the year ahead of me will be the last year of my forties, and as Milos Kundera once said; ‘Alas, our human future is not childhood but old age.

And there is a comfort in that future; comfort of knowing that one’s job has been done; either splendidly or clumsily, and therefore one is no longer subject of expectations, subject of observations and evaluations. Audience becomes irrelevant, or non-existent, or both.

So one goes about one’s life with far less fuss and furore.

Sunrise brings a beauty on its own, just as it is, rather than being a beginning of a new day with new goals and schedules.

Children, as does my own child, go briskly about their own life with all the vigor and ambition we once held. They measure their independence by the length of the distance they manage to separate themselves from their parents. It is called ‘growing up’ and this summer I observed it in my own daughter with much love and motherly pride!

Books are read and movie watched for sheer pleasure, stripped of any pretentiousness.

In the theater of life we assume supporting roles, those of lesser exposure. Dimming of the lights agrees with our dispositions. We have been around long enough to know that brightness of the front row reflectors, while alluring, is also unforgiving. Shadows, on the other hand, offer many hues.

 And so does the hope.

Hope
Image; Courtesy of Google.

New Year’s Eve

Tonight, while soft breeze of southern summer rustles small waves across the bay and countless lights break over the harbor, brand New Year will wash on our shores,

Under the blossoming Pohutukawa tree. pohutukawa

Still unwrapped from its shiny gift wrap,

Unknown, and thus full of promise, full of hope.

For a year better than the one departing,

For a year better than those already departed.

Until the time of departure returns once more,

In the endless circle of time.

May a New Year be kind to us all,

so we may all remember that;

‘One needs Power only when one wants to do something Harmful, otherwise Love is Enough to Get Everything Done!’ (Charlie Chaplin)

NZ New Year