Looking back, but only for a moment


That’s the title of this beautiful, somewhat haunting image that called out to me so strongly this year that it’s now on my wall (the artist is Edmontonian Maria Pace Wynters).

These last few weeks of the year I’ve been guilty of overfeeding my brain as well as my body – devouring everything from how quantum mechanics explains parallel universes to looking backward through time and space. I couldn’t stop myself, although I realized pretty quickly I didn’t have nearly enough background or capacity to read and completely comprehend Brian Greene (The Elegant Universe, The Hidden Reality), even though he has been described by The Washington Post as “perhaps the single best explainer of abstruse science in the world today” – honestly, I even had to look up “abstruse” (meaning obscure, perplexing, puzzling).

So, right now there’s a bit of a digestive stupor hampering my thoughts, and it’s been compounded by a steady stream of year-end retrospectives. Reflecting on everything that’s happened over the past year, much of which I had forgotten, makes me wonder how I’ll digest it all, make sense of it, and find room for what’s coming in the year ahead. I think the answer is that I won’t.

Everything that’s happened to us is part of what we bring to the world every day. If there is a universal energy, a compound consciousness through which we can affect not only events but the well-being of living things everywhere, I think we have some responsibility for making that energy positive. One way I think we can do that iis to lighten the load each of us is carrying – drop part of the baggage that’s weighing us down and free up some space.

My mother learned this little poem at school years ago in Italy, and recited it tonight to bid farewell to 2014. Easier to digest than Brian Greene’s explanations of abstruse science, especially on a full brain:

L’anno vecchio se ne va,
e mai piu ritornera.
Io gli ho dato una valigia
di capricci e impertinenze,
di lezioni fate male,
di bugie e disobbedienze.
E gli ho detto “Porta via!
Questa e tutta roba mia.”

It’s hard to translate the simplicity and the rhythm of the original, but the basic idea is packing up the stuff I don’t want to carry with me and asking the old year to take it away with him when he goes. It will be harder than it sounds, without a doubt, but then, all the best resolutions are.


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Wanting to capture the world, one piece at a time.

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