-10c as we drove over the hill to Allendale this morning. Freezing fog had left delicate tracings on grass, reed and bare twig. On the top road, high above the fog, all frosty whiteness to Scotland. Near the Health Center a Hazel Contorta, and how I wish I’d my camera with me, the frost configured into dramatic spikes jutting out horizontally from the tangle of twisted branches. Everywhere, cold! Everywhere white. Everywhere gloomy-bright.

-6c as I journey this afternoon to the other town claiming to be the geographical center of Britain. Haltwhistle. Pick up a 70 year old congregation member for the New Year festivities. I hope I’m as bright and positive at that age with as little, but not destitute, as she has. Las Vegas USA in the early 1960’s, reads Thomas Merton’s Asian Journals. Life changing. And since then, changes….

Brrr, it’s going to be cold as the year changes. Happy New Year, when it comes.

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7 thoughts on “Brrrrr”

  1. -22c tonight as I stood watching the fireworks. (Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Edmonton anymore?) The view across the river is beautiful.

    As of yesterday I’ve gotten used to the cold and started enjoying walking around in it. That was after I had to walk outside for about an hour. Some kind of Buddhist lesson in there, I think.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Well, looking for some information on the old northern tradition of first-footing at New Year, which maybe some monks are familiar with?) I came across this piece from which answered my earlier question.

    “Oshogatsu (Japan)
    The new year is the most important holiday in Japan, and is a symbol of renewal. In December, various Bonenkai or “forget-the-year parties” are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year’s day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year’s cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year’s cards on Jan. 1.”

  3. Thanks for the information about new year in Japan. This fills out what I know of customs in Japan. Don’t know anything about first-footing, sorry.

  4. And just how many years have you lived in Edmonton? I guess acceptance comes when it comes…and then follows joy. My best to all of you in Edmonton. I think you know I loved Edmonton in the winter. Keep on awalkin’ Dan.

  5. Hi Reverend Mugo – I met you at Shasta Abbey this past fall and my dear friend and Sangha member Jade, introduced me to your website. I am so much enjoying all the teachings through reading poems, blogs, comments and insights, and your responses!! Because I am new to your site, I have lots of reading to catch up on! I also want to thank you for the gift of a lotus leaf necklace that you gave me. I hope you and all the monastic and lay community in the UK are well and happy. With Metta, and once again in gassho for all your teachings. Patty, a congregation member at Shasta Abbey

  6. I remember you Patty. Glad you are managing to read the blog and a special congratulations on leaving a comment. I’m realizing as time goes on that there are a lot more people, congregation members, who read and I don’t know of until it drops into the conversation, or a comment is left.

  7. Dear Rev. Mugo
    I remember when I was much younger and lived in Sunderland. This was in the days when Sunderland was a thriving shipbuilding town and port.

    At five to midnight on New Year’s Eve all the menfolk would go outside and await the New Year. Whatever the BBC said the time was, it didn’t count. We decided the year had turned when all the ships on the Wear (and the Tyne) had started their chorus of foghorns. The sound of all those ships blasting off at once made the hair stand on end. The cacophany lasted for over a minute. When the last ship’s horn had died away, only then did we say “Happy New Year” to each other then returned to our homes. Family greetings were exchanged then we would all visit each other’s houses to bring in the new year.

    I think this tradition has all but gone now, alas.

    Happy New Year


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