Up In Smoke – Hopeful Thoughts For 2012

Photo by Christina Romero-Cross

I went to my friends Tina and Henry’s home on Christmas Eve for a mince-pie and a glass of mulled wine and left having satisfied more than my appetite for sweets.

Tina’s an artist and she had two ceramic vessels that she’d made sitting in a featured place with small slips of paper layered around them and several ink pens nearby. She spoke briefly about her intention for them when I arrived, but after being swept up in conversation almost as soon as she finished, I only remembered her plan for them as I was putting my coat on to leave.

We were encouraged to write a burden we wished to be rid of in 2012 on a slip of paper and drop it into the vessel on the right and if there a secret something we hoped for in the new year to write it on another paper and put it into the left container.

I did not hesitate with my hopeful wish or my relentless burden and after a quick scritch-scratch on the paper, I was done. The next morning I felt lighter already as if the act of writing both down had lifted a weight from me overnight. I know that sounds silly and too simple, but it’s true.

The vessels and the papers inside are destined for a big beach bonfire on New Year’s Day. The ceramic containers are made to withstand the fire while the papers inside are baked to ash.

I like that.

I like the idea of my dreams and doubts going up in a puff, while sausages and marshmallows roast on sticks over the same fire. I imagine Tina and Henry’s twins will be dancing and twirling around the beach while things crackle into dust and it seems right that children should be playing nearby.

Children are naturally hopeful and isn’t hope a part of why so many of us think a wish or resolution has a chance for success even if we make the same one every New Year.

Please feel free to share any of your rituals for the new year in a comment below or leave a link if you’ve written your own post for 2012.

6 thoughts on “Up In Smoke – Hopeful Thoughts For 2012

  1. I understand this technique of releasing burdensome thoughts is very effective – thanks for the reminder, I might try something similar.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, and your readers too. May we all flourish in 2012.

  2. When our children were small, we would do a similar thing, using a birdbath for the pyre. One year it was so cold that we couldn’t light a match. Perhaps it is time to resurrect that ritual. Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Ari, Amber and I really enjoyed the wonderful new years day bonfire on Baby Bay, watching the urns get hotter and hotter as we cooked hot dogs and sausages. After about an hour the urns got so hot that the wishes and burdens caught flame and made a whooshing sound as they exhaled fire and smoke from the egg like urns. It reminded me of the celebration of lights that signal the coming of longer days and rests at the heart of our solstice inspired christian midwinter festivals.

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