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An Year's End Meditation on Beginnings by Regina Tingle

Blank white blur buzz void emptiness — what is there?  I don’t know but I suppose it has to start with something; an idea, an urge, a desire, a mistake or love.  But before that, certainly there must be a destruction, a levelling to the ground, a flattening vacuum-like force eliminating all that once was so that there can be something else.  So there can be nothing else but newness; a notion both simple and profound.  The quaking earth, the rock-sway of trembling terra firma—not so firm.  Creation and destruction: wonderful terrible kinds of magic.

To speak to a beginning is also to speak to an end.  It is to take the next breath, the one that comes after the last.  Such a swirl, a cycle, a season; which has ever come first — do we even know?  Did God begin in winter just before spring or during the fertile summer or was it as the earth was going dormant, falling towards itself? 

Beginnings are like that — so elusive, so mysterious, so fleeting but also sometimes painful.  They seem to go nearly unnoticed, packed tightly inside years, months, days, hours or minutes: what is a birthday but once a year, what is a year but once a few hundred days?   

To speak to a beginning we must go back before beginnings.  And yet here I am, again beginning.  Every new word, every new sentence loops right back around to the start and I have a hard time moving forward.  It is never ending.  Why don’t’ we say “never-beginning?”  I think we all know why, even if we pretend to keep it a secret.  

It is all there — the signs, the symbols, the hawks that swoop and glide in rings.  Certainly they must know something like the wind knows something — it too travels round and round in circles, cones, the cylindrical vortices of yes and no, black and white and maybe and gray and everything all at once.  What isn’t a sphere?  Even the earth, even the distant planets, the sun, stars and moon.    

Fire flicks — it begins with a spark, with heat.  With all the right conditions something can ignite from nothing and begin.  I do not always know where and how or when they appear, these beginnings.  But I believe in them.  I believe they grace us when we least expect them, even if we only come to find out that’s what was happening later.     

Invisible beginnings.  What else are they but the essence of life itself?