January 02, 2009

New Year's Grace

Having survived a challenging Christmas season, having wept over, and rejoiced over, a cat who seemed ready to die and then was pulled back from death's door by lots of prayer and, possibly, antibiotics that finally kicked in, we made it into 2009.

Yesterday, on the first day of this year, R and I woke up to another half-foot of fresh snow and we moaned. There's no more place to put it, huge frozen heaps line both sides of the driveway and the backyard is a landscape of small mountains. The fountain is obscured and God only knows how the poor fish are faring, under the frozen layers. Plus, as per the old Czech saying: as on New Year's day so for the rest of the year, and shoveling wet and heavy snow is not the thing I want to be doing all that long.

And yet, looked at objectively, the fresh snowfall was somehow appropriate to the day. I like to think of each new year as a clean slate, a time to leave behind the regrets of the past year, a time to forgive ourselves for all the stupid things we may have done, and a time to move forward and see if we can catch some of those dreams we dream and bring them down to earth. So, for a brief moment, I took the fresh snow covering our piece of the earth yesterday morning as a symbol for that new fresh start we are all given. And then I put on my hat and gloves and went to help R clean the sidewalks and shake the weight away from delicate trees.

Later on, mitts and hat drying, I sat in front of the fire and did my annual Tarot spread for the year. I'm not as involved with the cards as I used to be a few years ago but I never miss doing a New Year's reading for myself. I generally get good insights from it and this year was no exception.

I read with The Light and Shadow Tarot, one of my favourite decks because all the cards are linocuts. Brilliant linocuts by Michael Goepferd who died shortly after he completed them. I get inspired just looking at the images.

Here are three of yesterday's cards:



Lots of water in the cards (water featured in one way or another in eight of the ten cards I drew) so the year ahead holds the promise of creativity, inner truths learned and inner growth. Interestingly, the Temperance card, suggesting a search for balance and harmony and personal "tempering", showed up in the same place last year. Clearly I'm not finished learning all my lessons yet so I guess I'd better get working.

On that note, I still haven't started on any new pieces and am still reading the art theory books by Andrew Loomis. They're a bit dated and yet marvelous; I've gained lots of insight into what the weaknesses in my work are and how to work around them to make myself a better artist.

It looks as if 2009 will be a pretty good year.

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