Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lighting up the New Year

Seconds to midnight, torches are lit. People circle around excited and chatting. As the first flames ignite the sculpture, a hush falls over the gathering. Fireworks sparkle up into the dark night along with all our wishes and prayers for the New Year as well as all the things we want to let go from the old year.

It’s becoming a tradition. For the last three years, my husband and I have spent the end of the year watching a sculpture burn.

My friend and sculpture artist, Patrick Gracewood builds a sculpture every year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to honor the all that’s happened in his life over the last year. Packed with fireworks, it’s built to burn. This year, the fierce gold painted angel held a picture of his mother in law who died recently, along with bouquets of dried hydrangea, gold ribbon and doilies. Alongside the past are symbols for this year, like the 2012 Chinese New Year dragon.

I get different feelings from each year’s sculptures. One year it felt playful and child-like, another year spiritual and somber. This year, the angel figure alongside the dragon felt both strong and powerful. I felt protected and intimidated. Like I’d better watch out and yet, I was watched over as well.

As the dried flowers turn to ash and the angel wings flame and disappear, I feel a part of me letting go.

As the fireworks fizzle, a contentment fills the space. A feeling of peace that comes from knowing that you have all you need, a strong foundation and a guide to help you find your way into the new year.

When all that’s left is smoldering paper, I notice there’s an opening. A clearing has appeared that the sculpture once filled. In that opening, I see the moments, days, weeks and months ahead burned clean and clear waiting to be.

Now into the new year, I can see possibilities lit by the sculpture’s sparks.


Patrick Gracewood said...

Susan, I can't believe it's been three years since you and Michael first came! So glad to have you.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

Neither can I! But we look forward to it every year and are so glad to be there, too!