On the night of New Year’s Eve, before the celebrations began in earnest, I took the dog for a walk. The mind often wanders when outdoors, and I began to reflect on how, being on the cusp of 2015, I would, in the coming year, be turning forty four. With my attention turned inward, I started to think of all of the ways we, as a family, celebrated Christmas and New Year when I was a child. And, for the first time ever, I felt a sudden, brief, twinge of sadness. Sadness that I am moving still further away from my beginnings, and sadness that some of the loved ones who contributed to those happy memories have been left behind, some far behind.
It was only a fleeting emotion, for I am seldom morose and normally quite sanguine and accepting of the order of things. On life’s journey we all move on, but remain forever attached to our roots. It’s like we wander with a safety cord. Moving on to situations new, but with a stored, constantly developing, frame of reference.
As I walked in the darkness, connected by leash to my Golden Retriever, a fox suddenly shot out in front of us, paused to look back as though to confirm that we were not beginning a pursuit, and then continued on its way. I remembered reading somewhere, about animal symbolism, that in (I think) Chinese folklore, a sighting of a fox indicates a signal from the spirits of the deceased. In that respect, this would have been quite an expedient and timely sighting, wouldn’t it? But, personally, I think it was just a local scavenger fleeing the sound of some premature fireworks. But, in fleeing, what the fox did do is jolt me out of the past and refocus me back in the present.
I continued along the way, still connected to the past, but acutely aware that I am now creating new memories for my own children to take away.
The year trembled upon the edge of extinction.