Last night, 11:59pm. We stood arm in arm in front of the MSN live telecast of Times Square, having ignored the coverage until the last moment. I reflected on my declaration as a child that I would stand in Times Square in the year 2000, the impossibly far-distant year when I would turn the equally far-distant age of thirty. When I was eleven and handy enough at math to figure out I’d be 30 in the year 2000 I knew very little of things that would disincline me to join that Manhattan throng. Its hard to believe we’re six years beyond that already. And four years past the New Years Eve we celebrated with a fierce defiance and not a little fear of What Might Happen, the gaping wound of the previous September still fresh, the remains still being carted away in that cold, dark night.
At 12:01 I opened the front door and stuck my head out into the cold to get a draught of 2006. I listened intently to see how my neighbors rang in the new year. Woodland Avenue was silent, even the steady swish of traffic on the road below seemed to have paused. No cheerful hollering, no fireworks, no shotgun reports (all things I’ve heard in other places I’ve lived). 2006 slipped in and settled among us like snow.
This was the first New Years Eve in a long time that my celebration wasn’t darkened just a bit by fear. Fear of what a new year would bring. I think I am beginning to understand that every year brings its struggles but most of them are not the great, dark destroyers we imagine them to be. And every year past has its tales of overcoming, of mercy and providence. They usually involve other people, those who pull us up, those who bind us together, those who encourage us to go a bit further when we are convinced we have gone as far as we can go. I have no declarations of resolution in the new year, no grandiose pronouncements of impending accomplishment. I wish only to be one of those people. An agent for change. One that comes and goes just as silently as a New Year’s night.
May you be blessed in this New Year by your own moments of silence.