Happy New Year (yes, I'm about 5 hours early, but I plan to sleep the New year in, as I'll be at work tomorrow!)
Graham and I saw 2000 in at my shoe-box of a flat in Bar Hill (just outside Cambridge. New Year's Eve isn't the easiest of times for Graham, as Nola (Laura's mother) died on 1 January (about 14 years ago, now). Also, being the pedants that we are, we insist that the 21st-century started on 1 January 2001. And then I found a wonderful book: Time's Tidings, edited by Carol Ann Duffy. This is Duffy's selection of 50 contemporary poems, 25 by men, 25 by women, which touch on the subject of time; and it also contains one "old" poem selected by each of the selected contemporary poets.
I bought it so that Graham and I could while the evening away reading poetry to each other. And through it I discovered the work of Gillian Clarke, who is now my favourite poet. If you know my love of sea creatures (whether real, or crocheted), and fossils, and sculpture and hares, you'll understand why this poem spoke to me:
For Meic Watts, who sculpted the limestone hare.
The Stone Hare
Think of it waiting three hundred million years,
not a hare hiding in the last stand of wheat,
but a premonition of stone, a moonlit reef
where corals reach for the light through clear waters of warm Palaeozoic seas.
In its limbs lies the story of the earth,
the living ocean, then the slow birth
of limestone from the long trajectories
of starfish, feather stars, crinoids and crushed shells
that fill with calcite, harden, wait for the quarryman,
the timed explosion and the sculptor's hand.
Then the hare, its eye a planet, springs from the chisel
to stand in the grass, moonlight's muscle and bone,
the stems of sea lilies slowly turned to stone.
(I've lifted the poem from here)
I'll just add that after a peaceful evening reading poetry, and detonating a tiny bottle of champagne, we slept, then awoke to the most glorious January day: clear, not a cloud in the sky. We set out along the footpath to Dry Drayton churchyard,(where Graham spent a few quiet minutes remembering Nola), then walked on to Madingley. It was so warm that we had to peel our coats off, and we laughed to think of the many poor souls who were probably still sound asleep. the only other person we saw was a cyclist, and the only sound was a woodpecker drumming on the trunk of a tree in the grounds of Madingley Hall. As we returned to Dry Drayton the bell ringers were playing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", so we were lured in to the Millennium service there. And on the way out I was embraced by the vicar!
And now: felting news! The "sack" shrank rather more than I expected but it is beautiful. Whilst I never make New year's resolutions, I do write lists of things I'd like to achieve in the coming year. Since about 1998 I've been writing "learn to crochet". In 2005 I finally picked up that art of granny squares (thanks to Jan Eaton's wonderful book on crochet blocks) and 2006 is the year that I've really gained confidence. Hmm, what shall I aim for in 2007?
Once again: Happy New year!