Why as a culture do we see things as having a beginning and an end?
The end of a year. The beginning of a new year. It’s only the Gregorian calendar that tells us that this is the end. We get a new number, but nothing has substantially changed. The weather is the same as yesterday, for instance. Remember that the Southern Hemisphere just celebrated summer solstice.
Into 2009, we might still have a lingering cold, the same crush or heartache, the same boring job. We might make new year's resolutions that we never seem to fulfill, dreams that never materialize and just roll over into the next year.
The beginning of the day, the end of the day. The beginning of the night, the end of the night. Where does one end and the other really begin? Last year on New Year's Eve I went to Ocean Beach to watch an incredible sunset. This year it looks like the horizon will be enshrouded in pea soup fog. Night will fall on us like a soft grey cloak over a woman's shoulders. We'll all go out and drink champagne, count down from ten, dance until we drop, and eventually go to sleep.
When we wake up, it will be One/One. 365 days will lay before us like a smorgasbord, or a blank canvas.
We begin and end relationships, and yet there are people that I feel like I’ve broken up with many times over who somehow keep returning, and whose role in my life takes a brand new direction. An end becomes a beginning. Or maybe our hearts never really let go in the first place. A relationship begins, yes, but when does it really end? We always learn something from it that we carry through life.
There are beginnings and ends to songs, even though you might keep on humming a tune for days, the lyrics spinning in your head like a ballerina.
Or what about your dreams? I've had dreams as a child that still haunt me today, even though they occurred only for a brief few minutes in the middle of a deep sleep decades ago.
A beginning and end of a trip you take, either one to a foreign land or one that you take in your mind… when it’s long been over, you still revisit the images you saw, the people you encountered, the surge of emotions you felt that made you feel alive.
Or the beginning of a life. The birth of a baby , or the death of a grandparent, or parent, or sibling. Who is to say that when this life ends another one doesn’t begin simultaneously?
The end of an era. The beginning of an era. We really can’t say what direction we’re headed politically, or if any historic life-changing events are about to occur that will continue to mark this dark period of history, or, hopefully, enlighten us.
The end of summer leads to the beginning of fall to the beginning of winter to the beginning of spring. Even in the dead of winter when the branches are mostly bare, we still witness the buds of cherry blossoms forming on trees.
If I could paint a picture with my words, I would leave you with the image of a circle. Or better yet, a million beginnings of new circles.