Greetings in a Small Town
I realized today that we are all in the habit of greeting each other with a "Happy New Year" when passing on the sidewalks, for at least the first week of each new year. Perhaps it is that the sun was finally showing for the first time in two weeks, but the greetings were flying fast and furious, particularly during the noontime, when I walked to the bank and post office, and picked up a cup of homemade soup at the grocery. I must have been greeted by at least a dozen acquaintances, also receiving greetings in return as they passed down the streets. Does this happen in other towns? I suspect it is more common where people already know each other, and where they walk past each other.
However, greeting in the new year is also a symbolic gesture of hope, as we continue to arise in deep darkness, and finish our days as dusk is descending. It is a reminder that the sun has truly turned around and the daylight is gaining minutes over the darkness with each passing day. Every time we shout out a "Happy New Year" to a friend or neighbor, we are reaffirming that new life is returning to the cold earth, and that spring will come again, and that we have the optimistic spirit to believe in new beginnings for ourselves as well.
My new beginning has been to start the online orientation for a post-graduate program in early childhood education that I will be taking over the next year and a half through Pacific Oaks College. I have taken several college courses online already, as well as a few from Barnes & Noble University, a shawl class through Needlecraft University (they are offering a Bohus sweater class in January), and most recently, the Shetland Lace Workshop from the EZasPi list. I feel pretty adept at online learning, but must of course prove it to the college by completing this first course over the next two weeks. In February, I will begin my first "real" course, titled Writing Our Stories (sounds like me, eh? :)... which looks at the importance of documentation along with the importance of each teacher understanding their own stories in preparation for helping others develop theirs. I am looking forward to it, and hope to teach early childhood classes to adults along the road I am taking.
The other new beginning has given me more trepidation... we are merging our center's operations with our regional Resource and Referral Agency, who will take over the fiscal responsibilities, allowing us to concentrate on caring for the children and educating them without financial worries (or at least that is the optimistic premise). Things weren't really ready, but the new year turned anyway, so I am spending the week "working out the bugs" and sleeping restlessly as I process my worry and attention to detail. Keep good thoughts for me.