The first of January has always felt to me more like the end of something than a beginning. From childhood, I have always had the feeling that New Year marked the close of everything I looked forward to at Christmas. New Year’s Day meant it was almost time to go back to school. It began a bleak stretch of winter with only the weak promise of Lincoln’s Birthday (this was an Illinois upbringing, after all, and Presidents Day came along after I was done with school) to get me out of class. The all-day football was a diversion, but hardly satisfying except that as long as that last game was still on — and it would be the Orange Bowl, playing long into the Central Time night — the holidays weren’t really over. Then time would finally run out, and you’d be facing January with nothing to take the edge off the fact the season had turned to cold, hard winter. Holiday lights and Christmas trees? They stayed up for a while, sometimes for weeks, but overnight turned into a reminder of the last pang-inducing and overdue holiday chore.
The first of the year? I’ll take the second, when I feel like I’m already sledding down the course of something new.
(And not — not! — that this is a comment on this year’s New Year’s Day, which was marked by taking down the luminaria this morning; seeing the wonderful documentary “Man on Wire” over in San Francisco with Kate, Eamon, and Sakura; having a repast of pizza and beer over at Lanesplitter, the Oakland restaurant where Thom works, and then going over to Thom and Elle’s place to check out some new electronics and the beginning, anyway, of “Iron Man.” It was a great day. But as a holiday, I’m not sure that I get it.)