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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 10 (January 1, 1936)


page 52


The Air of the Year.

No doubt, dear reader, you have detected “something new in the air of the year,” for:-

While the lingering chime of midnight
Tolls the doom of '35,
There is born a New Year laughing,
Ushered in with song and quaffing,
While the welkin rings with chaffing,
Quirks and quips and merry laughing,
For the year which doth arrive.
Men and maidens making merry
At the cradle of the year,
Donning hats of coloured paper,
Cutting many a curious caper,
Giving vent to vocal vapour,
Joker, jinker, jester, japer,
At the merry midnight fair.
For a New Year comes a'greeting
With the star-dust in his hair,
And there's welcome in the meeting
And there's joy upon the air,
When the men and maids give greeting
To another new-born year.

“But why all the fuss and fol-dediddle over a new year?” saith the cynic, lacing his ale with aloes.

Why? Because new years mean more than steps to the attic of eternity. New years are more than mere measures of Man's mortality. New years are greater than a mess of minutes which count as corpuscles in the blood stream of existence; more than the hours which pulse through the arteries of unattested Time; higher than the days and weeks and months which contribute to the cosmography of chronology.

“As You Like It.”

New years are all things to all men. A new year is “as you like it.” New years are as you make them.

The optimist, the pessimist, the cynic, the young, the old, the ascetic, the dyspeptic, the poet, the plumber, the mystic, the mummer—all make their new years in their own imàges.

The optimist can create a bonfire of bliss from stray straws of stimulation and the embers of emotion. An optimist can pluck a dead twig from the tree of Time and build a blaze that would thaw out the soul of a frozen Pole. He can illuminate the dimmest corners of his consciousness with faggots of fancy. His is a campfire of content. He gets what he expects and he expects what he gets.

The pessimist's new year is only an old year older; an effigy of Effluxion; Time in a trance, or a mess of moribund moments moulded by Melancholy to the lineaments of dazed Despair. The pessimist expects the worst and gets it worse than he expects it.

The cynic's draught in Time's bar is gin and bitters, without the gin. The poet fits the new year with wings, wraps it in golden gauze, and imagines he made it. He is happy with his home-made “hokus.”

The young take no heed of maturity's yearning for years, or laugh at such lunatic lapses. For the young see no significance in a mere muddle of months. To them all years are one year and one year is all years. Time doesn't gambol on the green with youth. He waits without the gates to arrest them as they emerge from their garden of gladness to the workaday world of worry, whiskers and wistfulness.

Age is equally indifferent to years, new and old.

The mystic endeavours to decipher the mystery of unmade moments, the ordinance of unallotted hours, the delights and delinquencies of undeciphered days, the ways of unweaned weeks, the melodies and melancholies of unmustered months; and perhaps he is happy on his hypothetical hurdygurdy.

The poet fits the New Year with wings.

The poet fits the New Year with wings.

page 53

A New Slab of Solar-Perplexus.

But the plain person who calls a collar by its christian name, and a pie a pie without bothering to translate the menu, takes the new year for what it is worth and rejoices that, at least, he has survived to dip his nose into a fresh bin of chronological chaff. He welcomes the new year mainly because he is alive to cope with it.

The whole secret of the sublimity surrounding the birth of another slab of solar per-plexus is the average human's thankfulness for the opportunity to partake of its experiences—however hard, however happy. Another year means another round in the prize-ring of existence—another opportunity of presenting the KO to Catastrophe and the glad mit to Fortune. A new year always promises Ok or Ko—you never know.

If uncertainty is the spice of life, every new year is a particularly spicy party. The toast, gentlemen, is, “Here's hope.”

Which is why Scotsmen make a heyday of New Year's day. Scotsmen are notoriously hopeful; Macawber has nothing on MacCaber when it comes to “postponing for profit.” But the difference between Macawber and MacCaber is that MacCaber works for things to turn up and then waits until they turn up.

The New Year to the Scot—and to many who are more Scotched against than Scotch—represents a new year's opportunity of reaping an old year's profit. No wonder Scots welcome the new year with open throats and throttles and consign Care and Caution to Mr. Chubb while the new year breathes its first and the old year its last.

And now, more muddled metaphor! If Father Time is ever reduced, through lack of the human coin of
“The plain person who calls a pie a pie without bothering to translate the menu.”

“The plain person who calls a pie a pie without bothering to translate the menu.”

curiosity, to advertising his timely tenements, his advertisement possibly will scan like this:

Tempus Tenements.

To let: brand new year, never been occupied; close at hand; all opportunities laid on, including hot and cold comfort, experience, elation, consternation, and all emotions necessary to human progress.

The whole or any part can be remodelled by tenants to suit themselves.

Rent payable in accordance with the nature of the occupancy, and will be accepted under the deferred payment system if required.

Far superior to all previous years submitted to the public. Examine plans now! Get in on the ground floor! Furnish up with Conscience and Co.'s unbreakable resolutions!

The Chinese Puzzle.

This New Year rejoicing and rejuicing is almost universal. Everywhere people are commemorating the fact that they have lived to see another year lift its lid. At least, everywhere except China, where things are so different that it is always Wednesday when the rest of the world is enjoying Sunday. New Year in China is as uncertain as lunch on washing day; it is liable to fall where it's dropped. But the Chinese have met the situation by becoming fatalists, which means that they are able to keep up New Year's Day with Celestial calm, Oriental sang froid, Eastern equanimity, fatalistic fixity, and fireworks, at a moment when the rest of the earth, is concentrating on Ash Wednesday, hash Monday, tax Friday, or Saturday night. But there is a moral to be drawn from the Chinese Confucion of thought regarding New Year; and that is, “Whatever the day, let it always be New Year's Day.”

Get Along, Little Doggie, Get Along!

Get Along, Little Doggie, Get Along!

page 54