|Last sunrise of 2013, Mountain Rd., Monaghan Township, York County, Pennsylvania|
In the natural world tomorrow will be little different than today. The forest around my cabin will take no note of the day. The forest’s cycle is different from our own and follows an older path, the one humans knew best before we started more artificial calendar systems. We were, I suspect, trying to tame or dominate nature back then by creating calendars based on some human events rather than by following the natural rhythms of the year. Choosing when to begin a year and creating months probably made our ancestors feel as though they had some control over their world, when they had so very little of that.
In reality, the winter solstice is a more reasonable event to trigger a new year. When the day reaches its shortest point and the night its longest, beginning the long swing there and back again is a natural spot for a new year to begin. The summer solstice might do as the start of a new year, too, as I could argue that moving from the longest day of the year to the next year’s longest day is also a good spot. I would agree, though to me the winter solstice is slightly better.
Though I try to see and follow the natural world as best I can, my feet are also in this world, the one that says tomorrow is the start of a new year. So tomorrow is the day I will start a new bird list for 2014, rummaging around looking under bushes and in the air trying to see what’s out and about. I do know what I see tomorrow will be little different than what I see today. But I will look anyway.