Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New beginnings

 il cielo Michelangelesco, a Michelangelo sky in Kansas
January is named after Janus, and the name has its roots in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door: January is the door to the new year! Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions and endings. Romans believed that the beginning of anything was an omen for the whole. This concept resonates deep within me: just think, whatever I start anew has the potential of affecting the cosmos, much like a butterfly effect. It reminds me that I must take care to focus on positive thoughts, acts and emotions.

For the past several weeks, I have immersed myself in the study of Roman history, in particular the time of Julius Caesar and his successor, Ottaviano (Caesar Augustus). I've been watching many documentaries and films that recount that period in history, and find it fascinating. Learning of the life and times of historical figures such as  Caesar, Mark Antony, Augustus, and Cleopatra helps add to my eagerness to return to Rome, where there are remnants of their existence still in evidence. In fact, I leave for Rome in 10 short weeks, and will arrive on March 15, the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated by his fellow senators. Non vedo l'ora di arrivare!  I can't wait! Soon I will be able to walk along la Via Appia Antica, the Ancient Appian Way, the same road that the ancient Romans used in their travels and conquests.
My new year began in Wichita, Kansas, the town of my birth, where I went for a family holiday gathering. I come from a large family of seven children. We have now grown into a far flung group of over 50, with members living in California, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Florida, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Italy. For this gathering, there were 31 of us, and we had an unusually temperate day, with 60 degree (17 celsius) temperatures instead of the cold and snowy weather that is common in Kansas at the end of December.

It seems only fitting that I returned to my own roots as I contemplate the New Year with its door to new beginnings. I am eager and curious to see where this door will lead me...but for now, my wish to all is this:

Buon Anno! 

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