Isn't the new year exciting? We stay up until midnight, gathered with our friends around the stone monolith in the centre of our little town - not the one made of bright white stone that whispers to you, the other one - and we prepare to welcome the new year. We embrace the people we love with arms that feel peculiarly heavy, and talk about all that's happened even as our eyelids droop and our jaws grow tired.
And then, as the monolith hums us gently into slumber, our bodies go slack and we fall, like cut grass, to the warm earth. The earth around the monolith made of bright white stone that whispers to you is always so cold that your skin sticks to it and your breath forms clouds the moment you step onto it, but the earth around the other monolith is always warm. It's wonderful to sleep on, but the dreams are always so peculiar.
I had the same dream I have every year. I dream that I wake up in a white space. There must be floor, because I awake lying on something - but it has no form or feature other than flatness and infinite size. On every side, there is only an expanse of whiteness - as though light were bouncing off a white wall somewhere, but on every side.
Yet as far as I go, there is no wall.
The floor I know is white - I can see it - but looking above me, there is only further whiteness. It could be a ceiling out of reach, or it could be nothing but an infinite, empty space. Of course that hardly bothers me; after all, when we look at the sky, we're seeing the same thing - although the infinite empty space is black, rather than white.
Two things do bother me though, and every year in this dream I walk (eternally) and puzzle over them.
The first is that I can't find the source of the light. We can only see things because light bounces off them and into our eyes - but no matter how far I walk or run, there is no source of light. The light just is.
And the second - as I walk alone through this space, this pristine, empty, place where my voice does not echo but is swallowed by the size of the space I can neither perceive nor understand - is this.
I know this place. Not simply because I come here every year, but on a deeper level. It is knowledge that nags at me like a loose tooth, and I know if I can just find the angle - or the courage - to push hard enough, it will come out of my head.
I am not sure I want to do it. Perhaps I will next year.
Speaking of next year - I assume as you read this you are all awake and settling in nicely. This, for me, is the best part of the new year - working out the kinks, checking out your hair, deciding if you like your new eye colour and the way your voice sounds.
Remember - New Year, New You!