As I’ve mentioned on Twitter, the start of a new year compels me to clean house. So, post-Christmas, I’ve sorted through drawers and wardrobes, dusted hidden corners, and polished tarnished silver. I also have four bags packed and ready to take to the local charity shop.
It’s been therapeutic, a mental cleaning house too, and has left me feeling lighter in myself, and ready to tackle new challenges.
Perhaps this impetus to clean comes from my Scottish ancestors for whom it was unlucky to start the year in an untidy home.
For those same ancestors, Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve, was a special time, and they brought their traditions with them when they came to Canada in the nineteenth century.
Hence, “first footing” has passed through the generations to my twenty-first century family. After opening the back door to let the old year out, we open the front door to let in the new. Dark-haired Tech Guy is the first person through the door, the “first foot”, to bring good luck for the year ahead.
Celtic heritage, Irish and Scottish, has shaped me as a person and a writer. I plot as I clean. And I shape contemporary stories inspired by old family and community traditions.
In wishing all of you a Happy New Year of reading, writing and everything that brings you joy, I share an Irish blessing which my grandmother once shared with me.
“Count your blessings instead of your crosses.
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full times instead of your lean.
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
Love your neighbour as much as yourself.”