A new circle around the sun starts. Another year. A new beginning. A time to take stock and think about what to let go, and what to take on in the months ahead. This New Year's Eve we went to a bonfire on the beach. It's a local tradition where people bring their old Christmas trees and feed them slowly to the fire. I felt the excitement - of a fire in a public place, the anticipation as we waited for later fireworks, and the beginning of a new year. All these things bound the crowd as we ringed the warmth and light and turned our backs on encircling dark. It felt like an ancient ritual, primal.
It was fun to watch the sparks rise above the rosy glow of swirling smoke. I thought of the smelting fire that burns away impurities to leave only gold. What do I want to let go of this year? What gold might be left behind?
The next moment the sparks seemed more like dancing bits of hope and dreams, ascending prayers.
I love that fires draw people into circles. Watching a fire frees people to sit together, focused on the mesmerizing light show as they are bathed in smoke. Conversation can drift, rise, stop and start again without a need to accomplish anything other than tend the fire and be together. In an increasingly virtual world, I hope to find ways this year to connect and gather in concrete, authentic ways with others. And, for myself and others, I wish for light, and hope, and laughter in the months ahead.