So far in 2015, Colorado has been snowy and miserably cold, but January’s mythology still makes it a fascinating month. January is named for Janus, Roman mythology’s god of beginnings and transitions, and statues of Janus are two-faced. Not in an insincere or deceitful way, but because one face looks back at the past, and the other face looks forward to the future. For me, looking back at the old year is important preparation for looking forward and making resolutions and plans for the new year.
My breakfast on January 1st included traditional blackeye peas. I don’t focus on the many possible interpretations of this tradition. I actually like blackeye peas, and the idea that they might welcome a lucky new year is nice, too.
January has many unusual days and observances, and each of the pictures below represents a special day this month.
When I was with my mom in Kansas before Christmas, at night when she was tucked snugly in her bed, I read to her from Joan Walsh Anglund’s book, A LITTLE BOOK OF POEMS AND PRAYERS She couldn’t see the colorful little illustrations, and the individual poems and prayers received mixed reviews. If Mom didn’t like one, she said “You can quit now,” and that was her response several times. But even more frequently she would say, “Read that again.” I ended up reading the entire book twice, leaving out the rejected poems and prayers the second time. Two stand out as read-it-again poems/prayers. They seemed to me—as maybe they were to my mother as well—excellent thoughts for the new year.
The first is an American Indian Prayer: “O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world. ~ Hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. ~ Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. ~ Make my hands respect the things you have made, and my ears sharp to hear your voice. ~ Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. ~ Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. ~ I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy…myself.”
The source of the second prayer is Unknown: “Dear Father, hear and bless ~ Thy beasts and singing birds, ~ And guard with tenderness ~ Small things that have no words.”
This first week in January, I wish us all appreciation of the past year and hope for this new year.