It's New Year's Eve, December 31st, and all afternoon, some kids have been lighting firecrackers and simpler fireworks. It's not legal; they need to be over 18, but not a single adult, not even me, has said a word to the 10 or so boys who have been happily lighting stuff, and diving for cover as sparks and smoke fly out of control and whistles while banging, whistling and crackling.
I could lean out my window and yell at them. However, in today's world, the boys would very likely yell back, and carry on with the fireworks. I have instead chosen to be amused by them, to wish them safe and noisy fun, and to actually enjoy some of the action through my window. I do have one of the best seats in the house, for what may be one of the last new year's eves with regular folks allowed to send off their own fireworks. Because it tends to injure people, that sort of thing. (Ya think?) But as the Norwegians say, luck works better than brains (lykken er bedre enn forstanden).
I'm home alone, typing a new year's letter to myself, planning what I want to focus on in 2008, all while drinking a huge pot of tea and with a pumpkin pie waiting for me.It has occurred to me that the racket from the rockets hasn't bothered me at all, but has actually kept me on track. It's New Year's! Focus on that! Yes'm.
I have greeted 2006 and 2007 with friends, away from home. This year I can indulge in a personal ritual I have for New Year's Eve, one that has made being alone on this evening not at all lonely, but one filled with meditation, personal peace and a connection to the world as it happily and noisily marks time:
I have a book of spiritual poems for every month of the year and their holidays. From that book I take a poem for the end of the year and one for the beginning. I also write a letter of gratitude for things in the year past, and wishes for the year to come (written as affirmations). A little before midnight, I light a candle and read the end-of-year poem, then my letter. At midnight, I watch my neighbors try (and fail) to set everything on fire, then, when the fireworks have died down a bit, I read my new-year poem and re-read my letter.
There is one thing I wish were different on New Year's Day: That Grandma was still here to watch the New Year's concert from Vienna with me. The music and ballet are just not the same without her and her delighted commentary. But I will watch without her. I (too) love Viennese waltzes!