The Turning of the Year

 The year is turning... 2023 becomes 2024 in a single tick of the clock... yet nothing changes, for all our drunken resolutions and best intentions. Everything that occupies our hearts and minds on December 31st will still be foremost in our thoughts on January 1st. The same wars will rage, the same injustices perpetrated. Joy and sorrow, violence and frustration, love and loss, depression and anguish... they will all run on from one day into the next, across the dateline that separates the old year from the new. 

Jolly little soul aren't I?

January is, of course, named for the two-faced god Janus - not two-faced in our modern sense, but able to see simultaneously forward and backward, and so it is natural that New Year's Eve should be a time of both reflection and anticipation. For those that know me, or follow this intermittent blog, you will understand that 2023 has been a year that I am all too happy to put behind me, and any reflection that I may be engaged in as the world turns between the years is bittersweet at best, and downright painful for the most part. So am I likely to be sighing with relief as we bid adieu to the old year, and rollicking carefree into the sunlit uplands of the year to come? I'm afraid not. All the grief and turmoil simply continue, like the torturer's treadmill, rolling mercilessly onward while we grow ever more exhausted and broken. 

It is all a matter of scale, of course. Even as I write these words, the people of Gaza are being systematically bombed out of existence, while Ukraine has suffered the worst aerial bombardment in these last three years of war. And I would not dream of attempting to equate my own horrible year with that suffered by the people of Gaza, or of the kibbutz Nir Oz, or of Mariupol, or of any one of the multiple flashpoints and killing fields across the globe... every last one of them dreadful, shameful examples of man's inhumanity to man for which the turning of the year brings no respite, no let up in the bloodshed and torment.

Yet for those of us who are not personally touched by the horror of war (other than through what is reported on our television screens, social media or in the press), our own struggles, our own suffering, our own losses - these are the things that we must deal with, day by day, week by week, month by month... and believe me, they are quite enough. More than enough. We think we are doing okay, getting by with a certain amount of success, when the metaphorical rug is pulled from under us, and we are plunged headlong into the abyss. They say that tragedy strikes when we least expect it and most of the time, 'they' would seem to be right.

But have there not been things in this last year that I look back on with thankfulness? Have there not been blessings I can count? Of course there have, albeit somewhat muted by the all-pervading pall of sadness that has cloaked the last nine months. 

The support of family and friends, to begin with; the unwavering love of my little dog; a visit to America to see family that I hadn't seen in almost 20 years; trips out in my new (for which read '30 years old', but new to me) van, including a really rather wonderful three days in August spent at a music festival; a couple of interesting acting projects; and the launch of 'Dark Horses', an SF anthology featuring my strange little story 'Disconnected'. 

So yes, there are blessings to be counted; and we need to hold fast to these beacons of light, for who knows how long such things will continue, or how much time we have until the stygian darkness enfolds us once again, and we descend, inexorably, into its thick, black embrace.

Happy New Year everyone...


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