This will be the first time in 5 years that I have not spent New Year's Eve by water.
Water is very significant to me. I was a water baby, swimming effortlessly from a very young age, almost as if I was more natural in water than on the earth. Water draws me in, and maybe especially at this time of year I look to it because of the ebb and flow of the waves or the sense of movement in a river. It embodies renewal for me and the hopefulness of re-creation. And there is also a certain stillness to water that encourages time for reflection too.
It has also played a part in my New Year's ritual which has involved writing and sending things out to sea, or down stream. Physically releasing any heaviness from the past year as words on to paper and then setting them loose. Last year I wasn't by the sea, but travelled to a quiet spot by an estuary of the Thames with a friend. Standing by the edge we let our pieces of paper fall out of our hands hoping to watch the water take them away from us. Funnily, mine got stuck on a muddy bank.
We both turned to one another and smiled. Part amusement, part frustration, part just at the sweet irony. I think she knew, without any need for the spoken word, what my envelope contained, what I was hoping to be able to let go of. There wasn't even any question of us going down to the bank and trying to help it on its way, I think we both accepted the symbolism of it.
Those things that got stuck in the mud at this time last year, that I was finding too much to bear, or felt saddened by or overwhelmingly inadequate in the face of, have evolved in the last twelve months to bring joy and richness in to my life. I'm glad that I got stuck with them, was forced to face them and work through them, they are what bring me most to life now. And are a source of great strength.
So, I don't have any water to release anything in to this evening, but this year that feels okay. I can feel that my body is able to contain all that it needs to bear, and knows what to do with it now. Maybe being in the countryside as I am, amongst trees, is where I should be, firmly rooted in the earth, connected and strong.
I did manage to do the other part of my New Year ritual though, walking 2 miles to the nearest village today, to the old fashioned red post box and posting a letter to myself with all my intentions and hopes written down for the year ahead. I'll be opening the one that I posted to myself last year a little later on, with my half bottle of champagne, in the warmth of an open fire and curiously seeing which wishes came to life.
Good wishes to you all for 2009.
I hope it brings you all that you wish for.
A song that is very special to me, by the Tindersticks.