The Scot’s song Auld Lang Syne can be translated into English literally as “old long since” or as reference to days gone by. I’m not big into the winter season so I generally refer to it as “Old Lang Pine” as I look back on the year past and “pine” for warm weather and a new growing season. The Christmas trimmings begin to look sad as we prepare for a fresh start in a New Year.
Just as we all have some Christmas traditions many have New Year’s traditions too. For me I run the lawnmower on New Year’s eve at some point. Laugh if you want but it’s safer than shooting guns in the air as is the tradition in some parts of the world. Some years due to snow I can only start the mower in place and let it run for a few moments. This year because of the lack of snow I may be able to take a couple of laps in the yard. My neighbors attribute my behavior to a cup of kindness but I find a much deeper meaning. To make a “lawn” story short, just like a newly mowed lawn we get to trim the past from our lives as the clock strikes midnight and move on with a fresh outlook….a new beginning. I also like to listen to the Dan Fogelberg song “Same Old Lang Syne” a few times. Call me “sappy” but there is something about that song that always touches me. Maybe it’s the line about drinking a toast to innocence, or the “old familiar pain” as the snow turns into rain. It was only recently I realized that the melody phrase at the beginning of each verse is taken by Fogelberg from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, one of my all time favorite if not most favorite music pieces of music which explains a lot. In my reading I learned that people in Spain consume 12 grapes at midnight, one grape for each stroke of the clock. Looking for a deeper meaning I was disappointed to surmise the tradition began in 1909 when grape growers started the practice to take care of a grape surplus. Others eat pork or ham based on the idea pigs symbolize progress. The pig progresses forward using it’s snout to “root” about in the slop in a forward direction before moving. Not sure there is much validity to this premise and it may cause you to lose your appetite unless you’re big into pork chops.
Whatever your New Year’s tradition I wish for you a safe celebration and a blessed prosperous New Year. From the words of Auld Lang Syne one of the less known verses says
“We too have run about the slopes and picked the daisies fine; but we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.” May you have a kick in your step in the coming year, may the daisies bloom beautifully. May the lawn mower work when it’s supposed to, and may you have a “root” awakening. Most of all I hope you’re like the lovers in the Dan Fogelberg song who “laugh until they cry.”
I had a friend send me some words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow the other day that are perfect for those of us who have disappointment in their past, and who doesn’t, so I’ll share these words. “Nor deem the irrevocable past as wholly wasted, wholly vain if, rising on its wrecks, at last to something nobler we attain.”