Walking in Your Own Landscape

img_1314  The end of a year is a time for reflection — not only on the year that’s passing but on the events of one’s life. It is a time also for looking ahead.

For years I would spend a part of the new year’s eve speculating about where I might be living when the next year rolled around. As a youth, my father’s job transferred the family frequently; as an adult, my work often required me to relocate. My speculations were rarely correct and I would often welcome the new year from a place I  never imagined I would be.

With time, the reflections become more textured and poignant and contemplative. One of my favorite quotes from the painter Willem De Kooning was this: “There is a time when you just take a walk and you walk in your own landscape.”

Poet May Sarton’s “New Year Resolve” captures a tone that I find fitting, reflective, and hopeful for the days to come.

New Year Resolve

by May Sarton

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

“New Year Resolve” by May Sarton, from Collected Poems 1930-1993. © W.W. Norton & Co., 1993.

Have a hopeful and clutter-free 2017.

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