02 January 2007

Endings and Beginnings

Janus is the Roman god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, and hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person's life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people.

We come to the beginning of a new year that we hope will be better than the last. It is fitting that we should today send a very elderly, respected man to his rest in line with the stages of a person's life. Gerald Ford's life was well lived.

Between the countryside and the city, we need to consider the massive changes in weather. Places that shouldn't be under three feet of snow are. Places that should still be cold are seeing the flowers bloom. Mother nature is out of whack and our attention needs to turn to global warming and the other ways that man has injured his surroundings.

Between primative and civilized behavior, there needs to be a call for all members of society to respect each others beliefs and customs. We saw the worst of this with the hanging of Saddam. Justice being carried out and then marred by the sectarian cat calls, virulent hatred, and the retreat to barbarism very much like that practiced by Saddam himself.

Peace still seems illusive and an unnecessary war still rages thanks to a deluded Presidency. Unfortunately too many young people may follow their current commander to their graves. There is nothing Janus can do about the young people who grow up to be soldiers when they are sent where they don't belong. Still those funerals will be a tribute to the individual and the group that does their duty even when leadership is misguided.

The name of this blog "Durward" is the Scottish version of Door Ward, someone who protects the gates of churches, castles, and cities. So as one door closes and another opens, may we all have a better year and positive changes until the next time Janus looks our way.

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