Welcome Another Year

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

January 1, 2023, and another beautiful summer day here in New Zealand/Aotearoa – the land of the long white cloud.  

Much of yesterday was spent sorting and tidying cupboards and drawers. I think those years spent in Scotland had a bigger impact on me than I realised. It is a tradition in Scotland for houses to be cleaned, polished, and tidied before the New Year comes in, and so this is what was occupying my time yesterday. 

Then today, my daughter decided that we would tidy the cupboard in our shared laundry.  This, of course, set off another round of attacking those cupboards and drawers that hadn’t been attacked yesterday.

After this flurry of work, I decided that I would have a cup of coffee sitting in this sunshine and enjoying this place I choose to call home. The only company I had, for the time being, was a lazy cat enjoying himself in the sun, and the Tuis and other birds calling loudly in the trees.  And for a couple of hours this afternoon, this became my Shangri-La.

And then I thought of the passage from Lost Horizon by James Hilton.  If you haven’t read the book it is about a group of four people who are attempting to escape a civil war.  After their plane crashes, they are found by a mysterious Chinese man who leads them to a monastery hidden in “the valley of the blue moon”. Here, in a land of beauty and mystery, life is lived far beyond and out of the reach of the world that is heading into another World War.  It is here, in Shangri-La, that the destinies of these four travellers are unveiled against a backdrop of peace and tranquillity..

And now the name Shangri-La has become synonymous with a  place of peace and harmony far from the modern world.

Well back to the passage that came to mind while sitting:

“He was discovering happiness in the present.
When he sat reading in the library or 

playing Mozart in the music room, 
he often felt the invasion of a deep spiritual emotion.”

And this is how I felt this afternoon.  A feeling of being in the right place at the right time, doing what I was meant to do.  And I think that I was meant to take time out of a normally busy life and just think about the beauty around me, the sun and the birds and yes, Flashcat.  Perhaps this was my Shangri-La for a couple of hours this afternoon.

And another Mary Oliver quote:

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

Happy New Year. And as they say in Ireland “May the Good Lord take a liking to you, but not too soon.”

JB Wellington, New Zealand
January 1, 2023


10 thoughts on “Welcome Another Year”

    1. I enjoyed the quotes as well, and some were new to me, so a double enjoyment! And I like how you were able to find your own Shangri-La. Perhaps it’s a (very different, but still) interpretation of what Frankl said in “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Maybe that’s how can all find Shangri-Las even if it is for just a couple of hours?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have seen the movie Lost Horizon but never read it. Too many books I think, and not enough time. It was an old movie but the message was better I think in the book. I enjoyed your musings and quotes. I find it interesting how blogs can connect people around the world. My weather may be different, but many like minded people are around the world. Best wishes to you!


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