A difficult decade is over. Major terror plots, a severe depression, worldwide epidemics and the passing of Michael Jackson. It sure wasn’t easy.
Last night, Marie and I watched fireworks under an pink umbrella, holding each other tight while the Manhattan skyline disappeared in a foggy, rainy night. An NYPD police car was parked on the Brooklyn Promenade, playing an oldies radio station out through it’s loudspeaker. This morning, as we awake to a new cycle of life, we receive terrible news that another life, far away to the east and the south, has ended. A sad gate is opened. Emotions and memories rush in. Tears flow. Then the mind drifts. It seems like yesterday – rather than 365 days ago – Marie and I were celebrating the New Year in Cape Town.
Seemingly a year or two before that, I was standing on a Little Cayman beach at midnight with a bottle of champagne in my hand, watching Peter and his crew launch the ritual New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Southern Cross Club dock, the real Southern Cross hanging low in the sky*, Yin and Yang of constellations with its trailing stars forming a "minus" to the main "plus". But in fact that was a full decade ago.
Another decade before that, I was about to embark on a 15-year journey throughout the Tropics that would change me radically and forever shift my passionate embrace of the world to include the oceans. And 10 years before that, I had been finishing high school and getting ready for college and flight school.
Where has the time gone?
Easy. It’s here. It’s now. I hold it all in my hand today, January 1st, 2010. Time has lead me along, landing me its magic, letting me ride it, allowing me to live with maddening intensity and a careful abandon. It is never wasted, never spilled nor even spoiled. Time builds us into who we are now. And if we don’t like that, we can change in a split second because time, despite my father’s old saying that "it will not respect what was built without it," is also the strangest contortionist; just when you thought it was stretching itself to infinity, it bends, shifts, swivels and twists, and delivers in a single moment a millennium’s worth of perfection.
Time is a beautiful, cruel and impossible thing. The toll is terrible, the rewards sweet and colorfully tingling. Without it passing, we would not value anything and couldn’t appreciate what we have, or have not. Without it ticking, there would be no memories. Without it flowing through our lives like sand through fingers, we would never say "thank you". Without time, we wouldn’t really have a soul.
So I’ll use this time, on the morning of the first day of a new decade, to repeat myself and wish the world a simple thing: peace – peace to all, within, around and away. Inner peace, most of all, to the ones who, today, are struggling to make sense of the absurdity of life. A time will hopefully come…
* That was a bit of a poetic stretch; at the Cayman Islands’ slightly northern latitude, the Southern Cross only becomes visible later in the year and the night.