How confusing to celebrate two New Years each year. Can I pledge allegiance to one of them, or at least find some resonance beyond the occasion for a holiday meal or a midnight kiss?
Because I live in the Galilee, from whose agricultural landscape the practice of declaring a New Year at the end of summer originated, I search around me for hints of inherent rationale.
Intuitively, from an agricultural point of view, the New Year might more logically coincide with the new growth of spring. But this betrays a persistent world-view from my East-Coast upbringing, of snowy winters, April showers and May flowers. In fact, it is in winter here in the Galilee when the excitement of new growth bursts forth – something I marvel at every year anew.
Then why late summer? I found an answer just the other day, watching Ron fixing the soil for our hakura – the kitchen vegetable garden we keep next to our house. He cleaned out the last shreds of dried green onion and chard, turned over the earth and spread compost. We began to discuss what we would plant this year.
On the road, I saw a large tractor with clumps of earth still clinging to a giant rake-like plow, and passed roughly combed brown fields which now wait – like all of us – for the rains that will set a new agricultural cycle into motion.
The new year spreads out before us like the field and the garden – and what will emerge depends in large part on the intention, effort and nurturing we invest in it. The rain, when it comes, is beyond our control – as are bugs, hail and heat waves. But overall, at the threshold of this New Year, it serves to keep in mind the timeless truth – that we reap what we sow.
And as the clouds gather and a welcome chill promises relief in our summer-weary days, let me extend this New Year’s wish: that in the coming year, you envision, cultivate and harvest the finest yields your heart and imagination can dream of.
With love – Abbie Rosner