My New Year's Eve gig fell through yesterday - a development in which I quietly and secretly rejoiced, mostly because it keeps me off the road, and out of the punch. So although I'm in favor of any reason to party, especially for no reason in particular, I'll probably be marking the New Year by sleeping through the midnight passage this year - and thus celebrating, with a slice of unconsciousness, the continuum in which time actually exists.

My earliest memories of New Years revolve around the party hats and frilly noisemakers that would appear around the house on New Year’s day, remnants of magical adult goings-on, from which we kids were cruelly but provocatively excluded. And the equally mysterious but somehow evocative strains of "Auld Lang Syne". Soon enough, as my friend Rick pointed out, we were "in on the magic", and I was celebrating with my own tribes and lovers from snowy fire-lit soirees in Michigan, to snowy neon-lit blow-outs in Times Square, and now in Florida's tropical Parrothead splendor.

Of all the holidays, New Years uniquely does not memorialize something associated with a particular human being or historical event. And unlike the solstices, equinoxes, and the like, does not refer to an actual natural occurrence. The passage from December 31 to January 1 is, at the end of the day, a somewhat arbitrary one. But maybe that's exactly what accounts for its near-universal appeal. With no exclusionary or divisive military victory, local hero, or religious event to tout, it simply says... “Here we are. We made it to another year, another day, another tick of the clock. Drink up, and kiss me, you fool!”

So I raise my cup to, and with, you all, filled with as much kindness as we can muster and receive, to celebrate nothing more sacred than the extraordinary fact that here we all are together, on this planet, for the first and last time, in this moment, today, maybe tomorrow, and for Auld Lang Syne.