MythBlast | The Thin Ice of a New Day

Skating away —
skating away —
skating away on the thin ice of the new day.”

      – Ian Anderson, “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day)” War Child

March in the Catskill Mountains where I live is storm-tossed, fingers stubbornly reaching back towards a flaccid February and making its point that we anticipate warm spring at our own peril. Three feet of snow a few days ago, neighbors who stand still without power, and another foot coming tomorrow.

And yet, light is changing. The sap is rising. In spite of a spiteful last bite of winter, the red-winged blackbirds have arrived again, and the fire of spring is uncurling.

It is a time of beginnings, this thin ice of a new day. I feel its invitation to let my own sense of fire emerge as the year shifts, and am aware of my balance on that ice, easily shattered.

Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story’s
too damn real and in the present tense?”

       – Ian Anderson, “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day)” War Child

Beginnings have such promise, but can be so painful. More often than not, something must break before we can build anew – whether its the filial ties between the Titans and Zeus and his Olympians; or the divine trust for Prometheus, fire-stealer; or our own sense of what we have been.

We must be willing to get rid of
the life we’ve planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.”

Maybe this is why March, with its contradictions, its sense of possibility, and its unique way of making us uncomfortable in our own skins, is such a perfect time of this transition.  Its damn realness invites us into the gloriously difficult beginnings of spring.Campbell’s musings on the art of living are, indeed, a wonderful companion in moments of change. If you’d like to read more, click here to find the A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living eBook.

May you enjoy your new skin!

All the best,

Leigh Melander, Ph.D.

About Leigh

Leigh has an eclectic background in the arts and organizational development, working with inviduals and organizations in the US and internationally for over 20 years. She has a doctorate in cultural mythology and psychology and wrote her dissertation on frivolity as an entry into the world of imagination. Her writings on mythology and imagination can be seen in a variety of publications, and she has appeared on the History Channel, as a mythology expert. She also hosts a radio who on an NPR community affiliate: Myth America, an exploration into how myth shapes our sense of identity. Leigh and her husband opened Spillian, an historic lodge and retreat center celebrating imagination in the Catskills, and works with clients on creative projects. She is honored to serve as the Vice President of the Joseph Campbell Foundation Board of Directors.

Attribution: Peter Bruegal, Hunters in the Snow, 1565

Hello! We at JCF are delighted to present MythBlasts, weekly quick taste of mythology – topical, intriguing, evocative – from scholars in the JCF community. And each week, you are invited further into myth and into the work and world of Joseph Campbell with a link at the bottom to a particular publication we think will illuminate the ideas worked in this week’s MythBlast further. If you’d like to subscribe to get weekly MythBlasts in your inbox, just fill out the contact form on the left side of the page. Thank you!

We are excited to share a little blast of myth with you.

Leigh Melander, Ph.D.
MythBlast Series Editor
Vice President, Board of Directors
Joseph Campbell Foundation