Janus, that ancient Roman god, was two-faced! He was a god of beginnings and endings, of looking to the future and to the past, a god of gates and doorways, of passage and transition and he gave his name to this month, January.
Perhaps, to call Janus two-faced (insincere and deceitful) is not being fair to him for we generally regard these as undesirable traits – though essential, even laudable, it would seem, in politicians and diplomats. Janus might better be described as indecisive, not quite sure whether it is better to look backwards or forwards, not quite sure if it is time to leave something behind or to continue with it, not sure if it is time to make changes in life or to simply plod along. Of course, one cannot undo the past, cannot go back in time, so one has no choice but to go forward but this is in itself, if not indecisive, at least a non-decision. There is no choice, there is no decision, simply a forward-moving indecision.
I am a January person, a devout follower of Janus, a man of great indecision – or, at least, with a penchant for the postponement of decisions to the very brink of necessity. There have not been and will not be any New Year’s resolutions by me; they would simply be too much of an effort and too much of a bother. Of course, there are several vague hopes and intentions hovering about somewhere in my mind but, certainly, nothing so concrete nor decided that I might actually put them into words or, horror of horrors, actually commit myself to doing anything about them.
Nonetheless, I do look forward with a certain hope, even prospect, of happiness to events in the year ahead. There will be the normal family events – grandchildren events among them – which will be enjoyable and memorable. We will have our holidays – we have already made arrangements for a few days walking on The Burren – and we will continue our gardening and our regular walking. There has been mention of, perhaps, joining in some organised walking activities but, to be honest, we neither are enthusiastic joiners of groups, preferring our own company by and large. We were both enthusiastic swimmers but have left that activity slip in latter years and a return to swimming would be something we would both enjoy – this is almost approaching a resolution!
One activity which has given me great happiness over the last few years has been outings looking for and looking at our native wild orchids. These treasure have enthralled my heart, almost a childish enjoyment in something of simple beauty and intriguing design, and I am already looking forward to the company of the few people with whom I share this pleasure.
Here are a few shots, looking back, of some of the treasures enjoyed last year and I imagine you will understand why seeing them again is something to look forward to – Janus and I are certainly looking forward on this one!
ORCHIDS: In no particular order, just a selection from looking back over photographs of last year’s outings:
AND THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT ALL THE MORE ENJOYABLE: