An email earlier tonight informed me that a fellow I practice Aikido with in Madison lost his son in a car accident on Christmas Eve.

The son, all of eighteen, had a car accident up in MN, where I believe he had just started going to school.

I have never had a son; but those who know me will understand that hearing this news was a ghost-like experience for me. Sam, the son of my good friend and supervisor, and to whom I always felt a mentor if not a parent, lost his life in a car accident on a winter night nearly four years ago. He had just turned eighteen.

I am almost stunned into silence. Life, or at least Time, keeps marching forward; in this culture we are not supposed to dwell upon the past – yet if we do not heed it we are doomed to repeat it. I try to find balance, but these days I seem to feel more haunted than forward thinking.

What is our life, really? A succession of inhilations and exhalations; an intertwined internet of biology, nurture, stimuli, response, and cultural preconceptions which we set to the tune of the ticking of a clock.

Midnight approaches out here on the East coast. A flipping of the page, a rolling over of another digit on the celestial odometer. A new year. May we find new ways to create peace, foster creativity, balance our economy, and heal from those old wounds.