One of the things I used to love about reading Homer, especially “The Odyssey,” was the sense that the world was brand new. Uncharted island after uncharted island, and each of them so clean and new it might have been the first day.
Beaches without a single footprint on them still kindle something deep inside me.
Beginnings have their own enchantment. Miranda, in “The Tempest,” looks at the first people she’s seen (other than her father) since infancy, and says,
O brave new world
that has such people in’t.”
She is, of course, looking at the very people responsible for casting her and Prospero away on the island to begin with, and her father’s response is one of the greatest pieces of under-writing I know. He says only, “‘Tis new to thee.”
2011 is, of course, an illusion, a convention. It’s the same ragged world it was yesterday. It’s new only in the sense that we’ve agreed informally to see it so. And the same is true of our lives. We woke up this morning in the same tangle we were in when we went to bed last night.
But, like Miranda, we can look at it all on New Year’s Day and think, O brave new world.
And that’s a beginning.
(Confession: I posted this on my own site, too. It was written on New Year's Day, and it was about all I wanted to say. Happy 2011, everyone.)