So here we are again then, December. And what a confusing old month it is. It’s a time of merry celebration and weary, northern-hemisphere hibernation; of light and energy just as the day’s overcome by night and lethargy; and yet the longest day of darkness also signals the return toward the sun; the year’s end before we re-start and do it all again; December’s the oldest the year will get before it’s departed and done and yet the vitality of the month makes it feel fun and young. Yes, a confusing, enigmatic, paradox of a month.
December. Even the word is confusing, coming as it does from the Latin word for ten despite its position as month number twelve—a quirk carried over from the Roman calendar which only counted ten months from the start of the year in March. Interestingly, they didn’t assign the winter days between the end of December and the start of March to any month at all. Just a period of unaccounted for time. I quite like that. They’d worked out a very complex, sophisticated method, based on an obscure system of kalends and ides and nones, to cleverly keep tabs on time and then it gets to the end of December, they realise they’ve left out about 60 days and they think “ah fuck it, that’ll do.”
Which I totally understand. Who doesn’t feel that way by December? A whole year’s worth of effort has been expended and all anyone really wants to do is have a big feed and fall asleep.
Christmas. The epitome of confusion. With all its silly nonsense and all its sacred significance. All at once and all with turkey. Why on earth turkey?
Before we herald the arrival of the new year, when the clock resets to zero and we get to try again. A time for contemplation, to count the past year’s accomplishments and losses, to look forward with renewed resolve. To make a wish, say a prayer, give thanks, promise to do better. While we get utterly shit-faced and try to snog whoever happens to be nearest.
And then finally, for me anyway, it’s the month of my birthday. Both confusing and completing in equal measure. Another slice of time munched, another orbit done. And how much of the Big Cake remains, how many more orbits to come…?
I hope many more – for me and all of us – because despite the confusion, even in this most confounding of years, it can all be a lot of fun.