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Tuesday January 06, 2004, 23:38

The first of anything is always important. I came to this, the most profound of conclusions, while sitting on the balcony in a sweatshirt and flip flops after a successful celebration welcoming in the new year. The floor had been mopped, the bottles all properly discarded and the stray cheese put in its place. The rest of the occupants of the apartment (full-time and those simply passing through) were asleep, and I watched as the sun rose up, casting reddish tint on the city for the first time in 2004.

Granted, there is not much of a difference between a sunrise from day to day, but to say that they are all unique. But without putting artificial triggers on time, we are forced to live our lives without context. A birthday is nothing more than a day with only passing significance to one person and his or her friends and relations. But without that day, and acknowledgment of the significance of the passing of another year for this one individual, there can be no benchmark, no way of saying "yes, I was here once, and now I am there, and this change is good, and in another passing of the earth around the sun I will once again re-evaluate my place on this earth." The year is a reasonable timeframe in which to compare ones place in ones' own life. It has the benefit of being a singular (rather than the equally valid yet more wordy "six months") with a grounding in something tangible, at least on a cosmic scale. At the same time, any given year-long block of time can be seen as a reasonable control with regards to overall climate in a given locale, economic climate (at least as they pertain to shopping days until Christmas) and any of another dozen factors that all rotate on this same, yearly cycle.

What is left behind when the variables have been stripped out is one's place in life, both in the life of the individual and in the life of the world, such as it is. If we assume that a given system has a life (that is, it is made up of living components that all interact to form a larger dynamic system, much like Voltron) then ones place within that system is as equally important as one's place along the timeline that makes up the life of the individual. Upon the ticking over of another full year, one is given the opportunity to reflect on the snapshot of a full year prior to see what changes have been made, what changes are in progress, and what changes have failed even to materialize.

It is this moment that defines the future and it is this moment, as the sun is rising on a new year, that one is forced to project ahead one full cycle to discover ones self looking back at just this moment, wondering where another year went. It is this moment that will be the beginning of the timeline, with a year to fill, with a clean slate and with the entire world ready to be explored. First thoughts are far too precious to be wasted on such trivialities as the state of the world or the chill in the air. Watching a sunrise is watching a rebirth, precisely unlike the comparison of a sunset to death. The beauty inherent in watching a sun sink behind a horizon, leaving behind a living world flailing around in darkness can not even compare to the sun, rising up over a horizon, wiping away everything that happened in the night and breathing soul into another full day. For all the artificial light we provide in our world, the strongest lamp around can't hold a candle to the sun, and society remains structured around this fact. Whatever happened yesterday can be fixed today, and whatever happens today will be gone in but a blink if you let it. The rising sun on a new year wipes away one year and starts another, wiping away everything from the past and leaves a path towards through the next twelve months.

This might seem like an awesome responsibility to be placed upon a single thought, the single thought to be captured at sunrise and carried through until the next First Sun. But choose properly and there can be power that burns in the very pit of your soul and drives you, every morning as you wake and every night as you watch the day sink away into yet another, for unless someone does something incredibly foolish, we must all wake up tomorrow, and we must all get through that day.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.

And...

Until the sun rises once again on a new year.

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