Happy Year of the Monkey Peace

You know me — opportunity to celebrate? Count me in.

Another new year? A fresh chance to to begin again in Love? Why wouldn’t we take that?

And then, as I so often ask, festal foods? Oh, yeah. Of course I’ll come to your house.

I confess, my celebration of festal foods doesn’t do the artistry of these gnocci justice. They’re so beautiful, and another gift of slow food from Terri and George. Wonderful things happened when those two met, I’ll tell you, on all sorts of levels. Dinner was certainly an important one.

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is a clever, curious guy with a magnetic personality. He’s intelligent, adaptable, flexible and eloquent. Occasionally that wit and curiosity can lead him astray, but his heart is huge. Animal activists are hoping to use this year of the Monkey to speak to destroyed habitats and illegal trade in these little guys for pets and for more nefarious activities. It wouldn’t hurt any of us to pay some attention to this…

We are one with the natural world, whether we acknowledge it or not. It’s better to acknowledge it. Better to as Robert Isaacs Eller says, “forgive ourselves and each other, and begin again with love.” So go ahead, explore the world. Be a bit adventurous.

And don’t forget the festal foods. We think of this as Chinese New Year — it’s celebrated in many countries by billions of people as the Spring Festival. It’s a lunar holiday, beginning on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice. This year, for the very first time, in acknowledgement of New York’s large Asian population, schools are closed in observance. More people in the world travel for this holiday than for any other holiday in the world. People go home to be with their families.

Peace, my friends. Peace of the Monkey Year, be with you. Call your families. Tell them you love them.