One of my all-time favorite books is “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard. This vibrant memoir, which celebrates Dillard’s 1950’s childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, captures the exuberance and wonderment of a child on the brink of self-discovery.
Over the years, I have returned to one passage in the book often, and every time, I am awed by Dillard’s masterful description of a child’s entry into consciousness, of a child who for the first time becomes aware of the difference “between seeing and knowing you see, between being and knowing you be.”
Dillard compares her own memory of this moment of transition—this moment at the edge of self-awareness—as “the gift at the moment of opening it.” Crossing that threshold into wakefulness of one’s self is the opening of the gift of one’s potential. From that moment forward, we become consciously aware not only of what our place in the world is, but also filled with expectation of what it can be.
As 2012 begins, we all find ourselves at various moments of transition. We have before us the gift of a New Year, essentially unopened and unexamined in these first few early days of January, but certainly full of potential and expectation.
We wish you peace and prosperity in 2012, and much happiness with the many gifts the New Year brings.
More New Year’s Columns By Kelly Scanlon