The first day of a new year spent at the bottom of the world with only two companions does not result in much celebration. Spending the day shivering while traveling from one ancient campsite to the next extinguishes any celebratory mood even before it starts. We get hungry and thirsty, and dare not stop long to rest. I can’t say the knowledge that millions of soldiers suffered the same way ages ago helps. I’m sure conditions were just as bad back during the war against the fortress of Nazada as they are now, but somehow things always seem worse when I experience them for myself.
Still, on days of significance, such as today with the start of the New Year, one cannot help but consider many things that may not be foremost of mind during other times of the year. How are my parents fairing in Sodoo? Did my sister Jaka’Len meet and marry a good man in the time since I left home? Might I be an uncle already, and not know it? It has been quite some time since I left Bagda, and there is no way such news would ever reach me in such remote places.
One thing we’ve noticed the farther south we’ve traveled, is the days keep growing longer, and yesterday I cannot recall the sun even setting. Up north, the days grow shorter this time of year, so I guess that down here they grow longer. If this is correct, the solstice, the longest day of the year for us, occurred yesterday, so today the days begin growing shorter. It might take a few weeks for us to notice any difference. When it seems the sun never sets, it’s troublesome to know when to go to bed and when to get up. Another difficulty is navigating. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what direction we’re traveling since the sun seems to rotate around us instead of rising from the east and setting in the west. The only thing we can do is follow the rough path from campsite to campsite.