Kage Baker, believing as she firmly did that any good thing was worth over-doing, actually observed several New Years during a single calendar span.
There was the birthday year, of course. That diminished a little in importance with every annular marker past childhood. On the other hand, celebrations usually lasted a week, so as to get everything in. Kage liked to mark them with chara trips.
There was the deep-dyed-in-your-chromosomes seasonal New Year – usually noticed around April, when in Southern California Spring finally wins its battle with Winter; up until then, it might yet rain for a month and wash little towns away. It’s done it before.
Then there was the astronomical New Year, which she considered began at the Winter Solstice. The Longest Night, the Shortest Day – then it was off on the merry-go-round once more.
There was the classical New Year in January, of course. Kage was apt to comment, though, that this was only the recent, Justinian version; if one needed extra time, one could default to the old Gregorian calendar. She liked options.
Kage never got the school year out of her system, not after “12 years in the navy blue, aaaar”: as she put it. The neat thing about the school year is that it has two New Years. The first was in September, when one was compelled back into blue uniforms, 5-pound saddle shoes and stuffy classrooms. That one was only redeemed by new crayons, new books, and the immediate proximity of the winter holidays. The second New Year, of course, was in June – when all the horizons of the earth expanded to infinity in one deep, gold-rimmed breath, and Summer came.
There were fiscal years, only noted because the IRS got stinky about self-employment tax payments. There was the New Year of royalties, which is usually in March – except in lean years, when it begins and ends with some piddling amount in December. There was the New Year of beginning a new book; and that one could start anywhere, on no notice whatsoever, and then twist and telescope itself into weird, non-Euclidian geometry.
And there was Samhain, the Celtic New Year. That one fit neatly into the celebrations for Halloween; in our household it was a three-day festival, marked with feasts, honouring the dead, and running around in the dark with pockets full of chocolate. That last bit was imperative even as grownups. In fact, maybe more so – it was grownups, said Kage, who could really benefit by a nocturnal stroll by the sounding sea, eating Snickers bars by moonlight and the eldritch green algae-glow of the waves.
I still keep most of these observances. Even the school year, which has been recently reinforced by moving into Kimberly’s household, full of teachers, ex-teachers, and teachers yet-to-come. But for me, in these strange days – half epilogue, half new life – the year begins on January 31st. Each new year of my life will begin on that day.
This lets me off the hook, too, for falling into a slough of exhaustion post January 1st. Freezing cold, flue shot reactions and all the other detritus of last year have knocked me flat on my ass the last three weeks. My deepest apologies, Dear Readers. My newest New Year is now upon the horizon and I will return to Do-Bee industry.
This coming January 31st – first day of, as Hallmark cards so annoyingly insist, the rest of my life – I shall celebrate by recovering from a little out-patient surgery, and carrying the phone with me from room to room. I’ll be waiting for the results of the needle biopsy scheduled for January 30th, which is being done to determine the exact nature of the weird little spots in my left breast, that showed up on my recent mammogram. They showed up even better on the more detailed one done today; hence, the biopsy.
I intend to blog my way through this, Dear Readers, with the enthusiasm due the New Year. I shall once more be venturing into the aquarium-haunted environs of Cedar-Sinai, where who knows what adventures await? Odds are this whole current mess is a false alarm, and I shall emerge scatheless. But there are bound to be some giggles and good stories along the way ….
And in the meantime: hey, whadda ya think of Nell Gwynne II?