Posted by VERITAS

I, Veritas – not my actual name, of course, though I shall aspire to honor this word’s meaning in my posts for this blog – stand in the night coldness – with others I’ve joined for this New-Year’s-Eve-Into-New-Year’s Meetup event – on the broad pathway of the grounds of an ancient shrine. A waxing, gibbous moon hangs ahead of us above a line of trees while a large video screen at the pathway’s turning point shows one of the shrine’s high priests, clad in white raiment, who – after a cheery-toned commercial break featuring one of this nation’s most popular costumed characters prancing about to the rhythm of a jaunty jingle – ascends a set of stairs and proceeds towards the shrine’s inner sanctum where he stops, sets down whatever it was he was carrying (which, with the camera’s long-shot perspective and our distance from the screen, isn’t clear to me, though, as it seems to serve some sort of ceremonial purpose, I suppose an Internet search would produce the answer), takes a large mallet, lifts it above his head, poised to strike, and, after a pause of several seconds, begins pounding a massive drum . . . and that’s it – the New Year has come!

I proceed with the others, moving steadily forward, pausing, and moving forward again – in an orderly fashion; the crowd control by the police is excellent – and after the turn in the path a chill wind, which I supposition is enhanced by the surrounding forest, begins to blow more noticeably, but I hunch my shoulders to bring my neck completely inside the raised collar of my jacket and soon we reach the spacious courtyard where we are allowed to approach a temporary, waist-high wooden barrier and there choose a coin from our pocket change – any coin will do, one of the natives of this country in our group affirms – and, as is the custom, give it a hefty toss, throwing it over the barrier towards the shrine building proper, where the high priest continues his ceremonies. Then, as is also the custom, I clap my hands three times (at least that’s the number two of the natives of this country among our group tell me they think it should be – they don’t seem entirely sure), bow my head and pray, not with words – none come to mind – but a feeling . . . of earnestness . . . of seeking . . . of wanting to search for, explore, learn, and express the truth; to, in short, live truthfully, or, at least, as truthfully as possible, which, for a writer, means nothing if not to write truthfully . . .

Will I in fact have the courage – or the lack of concern for decorum or perhaps the sheer foolhardiness – to do so? To write truthfully? And how far and deep will I be able to take it – this journey of truth that, judging from my prayer, I seem so earnestly to desire?

We shall see.