What a beautiful night!
Didn’t want to go to parties but wandered down to the beach a half hour before midnight. I wanted to be alone, yet with people, which I guess is sort of how I go through life.
At first there were just a few of us, but then more and more people came down, drawn to the sea, and started letting off dozens of Chinese lanterns and fireworks, while fire dancers spun their poi.
I sat on the very end of the stone breaker, facing the sea, everything happening behind me: the bonfires and sounds of laughter and singing and rockets going off. And in the minutes just before midnight this happy cacophony crescendo-ed and I leaned my head all the way back, cackling like a maniac, each hand madly ringing a bell (two Cs an octave apart), staring and blinking at the pink and green and white starbursts whistling and exploding against the black night sky while the lanterns drifted higher and higher until each was just a distant pinpoint of faintly glowing orange, the colour of new stars.
I rang my bells til my arms were sore, screaming with deranged exultation that was also catharsis, and I didn’t stop until the last shower of flaming cinders dispersed overhead, then I let the last tones ring out, stilled the bells. I looked at my mobile phone, the modern human’s pocket watch. It read 00:00.
There was something like silence for almost a whole moment and then it began again: the singing and laughing and firing of rockets.
Begin again, begin again…
I was at the very edge of the sea and walked up to it then and put my hands in it and bathed my face with the water, my tears mingling with the waves.
A fresh start. What is lost is gone. Say goodbye to it forever, sweetly. And with the tenderness that sorrow brings, dare to invite something new into your life.
If you’re one of those annoying people who’s had an absolutely perfect year then I guess you won’t have a clue what I’m on about and probably think I’m being a bit melodramatic.
But I think there are many of you who will know just what I mean and also understand that I’m not the least bit depressed as I write this. There is a borderland where sorrow and joy touch, where hope and loss shake hands, where regret for what one has or hasn’t done makes way for new resolve. There is no time like the changing of the year to effect a powerful magic in the contemplation of these opposites which are really conjoined twins.
And all with really cool special effects!
Happy New Year everyone! With love from Brighton beach.
(Well, Hove actually….)
p.s. the picture is of a laser show on the old West pier that was actually done at Chinese New Year, but it captures the mood and location perfectly. I never take photos when I’m trying to have an experience so my words are the only document of last night. As it was in honour of a different calendar, it also says, to me, that there can be and are, many “new years” even within a single year…