Looking Forward: A Gleg New Year


M. Mair, Eye in the Sky, Acrylic Painting on Canvasboard, 20 x 16 in.

At the start of each New Year, as dictated by our calendar, most of us reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the year to come.  We take time to look at where we are, where we’ve been, where we hope to go.

Thinking about all of this, I decided to adopt a new (to us) word my husband found as my word for the next year.  “Gleg”.  We learned it is a word which means clear-sighted, alert, quick of perception.  A good word for all we would like to be at the turn of the year and through the next one.  A long-lived word that comes to us from Old Norse, via Middle English and the Scots.

So for the next year I will try to be gleg. I will try to see clearly and well, absorb details and atmosphere quickly, and be alert to the world around me.  I will do that because these are abilities that are important to me both as a person and as an artist.  Such large ideas to be encompassed in such  a concise word!

I should note, though, that not everyone gives such qualities the respect I think they deserve.  Joseph Conrad said:

“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.”

I’ll console myself with Agnes Repplier’s words:  “The clear-sighted do not rule the world, but they sustain and console it.”

And maybe challenge it too?


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