It is a rare thing to see a mole above ground. We don’t, on the whole, see any need to expose ourselves to the light of day. At night? Well sometimes. On the stroke of the midnight that bridged 2014 and 2015, you might have spotted me, not just at ground level, but at a giddy 139 spiral steps above it. I was the brown pelted one on tippypaws, snout peering out through the tessellations, sniffing at the cordite and sulphur. The explosions were so close, the fireworks so damned spectacular, I gasped and stretched my little eyes with every new burst. No words, no images can do justice to fireworks. They are of that moment only, holding us enthralled as the calendar year turns.
The tower, well yes. This mole is a bell-ringer. And New Year’s Eve is a great secular occasion. We ring the old year out with deliberate discordant vengeance. Every pull on the rope or sally purges a grudge or misery. Out with mole-catchers. Out with pestilence. Out with guilt and self-recrimination. Then we wheeze our way up to the roof. And after the last of the fireworks, when all that remains is a haze of smoke, we descend again and ring the new year in – melodiously.
There is something so liberating about this ritual. We can cut loose from the baggage we’ve been dragging behind us. Our minds are freed to reconsider how we want to live.
Perhaps even spending more time above ground.
Happy New Year!