Hello, All Readers, and Happy New Year!
Since January marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next in our current western calendar, it’s little wonder that its name derived from Janus, the ancient Roman god of gates and doors. It was believed that Janus held the key that could unlock the portal, allowing transition to what is to come. Appropriately, he had two faces looking in opposite directions.
Consequently, Janus and January remind me of a working hourglass. They represent the past–the sand that has already collected in the base of the glass; the present–that which is rapidly passing through the narrow center tube; and, the future–the sand in the top of the glass that has yet to begin its journey.
In other words, this first month in the new calendar gives me pause to reflect on time. I look backward to all that has shaped me. I experience myself in the present, trying to get square with the pros and cons of that shaping. Then, I look ahead as I attempt to become the best person, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, dog owner, friend, neighbor, and kids’ author that I can be, one day at a time.
Invariably, books play an important role in my reflections about self and time. One of the reasons I read and write is to escape the confines of time and to achieve immortality. Sound impossible or, perhaps, vain? I thought so but have found other authors down the ages who have shared my thinking. Here are six in descending time order:
From Jesse Lee Bennett, What Books Do for You (1923)– “Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life.”
From Emily Dickinson, “Poem 1263” (c.1873)– “There is no Frigate like a Book/To take us Lands away . . . ”
From William Hazlitt, “On Reading Old Books” (1821)– “In reading a book which is an old favourite with me . . . . It recalls the same feelings and associations which I had in first reading it. . . . They are landmarks and guides in our journey through life. . . . They give us the best riches . . . and transport us, not over half the globe, but over half our lives, at a word’s notice!”
From Richard Whitlock, Zootomia (1654)– “Books are for company, the best friends . . . the home traveller’s ship, or horse . . . the seedplot of immortality.”
From Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (1605)– “Books are ships which pass through the vast seas of time.”
From Richard de Bury, Philobiblon (1345)– “”Towers have been razed to the ground . . . triumphal arches have perished from decay; nor can either pope or king find any means of more easily conferring the privilege of perpetuity than by books. . . . As long as the book survives its author remains immortal and cannot die.”
So, get a clue, Readers. May the New Year and good books transport you on incredibly rewarding journeys beyond time or mortal boundaries.