A Year and a Day

The Celts (and perhaps others) have a tradition of a year and a day as significant for several reasons. Marriages were embarked upon for a year and a day, and became permanent if both so chose at the end of that period. Initiations and craft apprenticeships followed this same pattern: after a year and a day, one committed to the craft or the calling. Here I find myself at the end of my own personal journey of a year and a day, and so I report.

I took this journey very seriously: to discover what fills me with wonder, and to write about it. Each morning for a year and a day my web calendar has asked me: “What shall you do differently today?”. The marvelous musical beep as this message arrived on my very smart phone has been quite satisfying, and some days more than challenging. Never the less, each day I did something different, small or large, and I have no doubt this set the stage for the very large leap I took some months back, moving several hundred miles and starting a new business. In one sense the project has been a failure: I have had little time to write of the wondrous things I have experienced. On the other hand, I have experienced some wondrous things…

We become immersed in habits and routines, we humans. Some because they are pleasurable, or important, but many, I think, because they are duty. Duty to earn one’s living, and all the other necessities of life. It has become very clear to me how deadening these routines can be – even if necessary. And partly because I am in a new place, I see that others, too, follow routines without really thinking about them. I suppose I would say, at the end of my year and a day, that I think very deeply about my daily personal choices, and how they shape me and my world. I think of it as a great gift, although perhaps I cultivated the conditions to receive the gift.

I should like to tell you about the most mundane of activities: eating a pomegranate last evening. A beautiful, lush, deep red, and perfectly ripe pomegranate which I quartered and proceeded to eat seed by delicious seed. I spent about an hour doing so, with every burst of sweet seed in my mouth feeling like the freshest of pleasures. I did nothing in that time but sit at the table and carefully pick apart the fruit and savour it. Mind, this was not preconceived – just my eagerness to eat the pomegranate, and my allowing, I suppose, the experience of wonder to be just that.

I can see you, my imaginary friend, cocking your head and willing to listen, though wondering if I shall go on about pomegranates much longer.

No, I shan’t. But I shall give thanks to the goddess for the gifts of the love of rain, of curiosity, and the wonder of pomegranates. But most of all, for finding that the end is only the beginning.

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