I look at the calendar today and see December 31st on the page. My mind immediately plays a few bars of “Auld Lang Syne”. It’s the Guy Lombardo version, of course. This is the only “sweet swing” that has survived the demise of the Swing Era of popular music. The song is a tailor fit tune for today. It drips to excess with nostalgia, just like New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day do.
As I get older, I’ve noticed that I’m more prone to indulge in the vice of nostalgia. So, I’ll probably be thinking of the past year and earlier times the same as many other folks will do today and tomorrow.
2012 was an eventful, interesting, stressful year for many of us. There are many things I would like to leave permanently behind us.
Most of all, this year’s major upsurge of negativity in the form of hatred and prejudice in their most virulent, destructive forms. Please, for 2013, let’s completely get rid of such thinking and behavior. Compassion and the most positive interest of the greatest number of people should be the major considerations in our thoughts and actions.
Secondly, the denial and lack of proactive measures regarding global climate change. I’d like to see more earth-friendly use of resources, hopefully with the accent on renewables.
Regarding the climate and weather, hopefully the severity of storms, like Hurricane Sandy, and the ongoing drought will lessen and abate. Even here in Norfolk, Nebraska, I have bad memories of the destruction caused by the major hailstorm of April. People are still repairing their homes and businesses in the aftermath of it. I think everybody wishes for more mild, seasonal types and amounts of precipitation across the world.
Like many other people, I have suffered the loss of family and friends by death. Intellectually, we know that everyone and everything that is born, will eventually die. That fact doesn’t make losing a loved one any easier, though. Everybody is affected by death at some times in our lives. I hope we all use this realization as the basis for empathy and compassion for all of our human brothers and sisters.
The same as some other folks, I’ve watched as friends have packed up and moved to another town, state or nation. While social media and other Internet venues make it easy to keep in touch, the physical absence of those friends is still deeply felt. Thinking of this factor makes me most nostalgic.
I can’t help but remember the faces of my friends and family who no longer walk the earth. On December 31st, each year, the fond memories remain in my mind. Sometimes, just a chord from a song triggers this nostalgia. It doesn’t even need to be from Guy Lombardo, either. Just the tone of music will do it for me.
Just this month, guru Sri Ravi Shankar passed away. I have some of his music, on CD in my machine, now playing. A beautiful Afternoon Raga is drifting through the speakers of my stereo. The drone created by Shankar’s tanpura player resonates with an aching nostalgia for my friends who now live in other places.
The forms of music most associated with contemporary New Year’s Eve celebrations are big band swing, and disco/trance/house because they are nightclub friendly. However, personally, during my alone time tonight, I will slip the Lombardo record back into its sleeve and start the classical Indian music on my player. I don’t really know why I need to hear it, I simply must.
The rich tones eventually overwhelm the nostalgia for the past and fantasies about the future. I melt into the reality of this moment in time. It’s New Year’s Eve and Ravi Shankar’s version of “Raga Gara” plays in my ears. My brain changes focus.
There are many good things I hope will actually happen in 2013. We probably share many of the same hopes. I hope we can all help make this world a bit better than the one we leave behind. It will be easier if we keep our aspirations ahead of our ambitions, and work out of compassion and love, not out of fear and hate.
Happy New Year
The Blue Jay of Happiness reminds you to refrain from drinking and operating a motor vehicle. If you go out, have a designated driver for your party.