A year to wait, or to work fiercely for this or that outcome, or a year to watch. And there will be plenty to watch: the Commonwealth Games, the European elections, the way we remember the outbreak of a great war that desolated Scotland in ways we still don't fully understand. And the September decision will come on us faster than we expected.
No Scottish generation ever came to a gateway as huge as this. The gate is not locked, just on the snib. A flick of the wrist, a pen-tick in a Yes box, and it opens, and we pass through. Not to a new landscape. It's the land we all know. It's we who would have changed.
In one sense, this is little more than the third putting of the same question. In 1979, the doubts included: "Who wants another layer of politicians? Who needs a talking shop that doesn't control the economy? Won't investment flee southwards? What happens if England says No?"
Strangely, all the same doubts came up in 1997 - but that time many more people decided to "vote for their aspirations, not their fears".
This time, the fears are different. The Scottish Parliament is accepted, and so, generally, is its need for more power over the economy and welfare. The English shrug and say Yes; only the Westminster political class panics. But what about pensions, a currency, defence jobs, Europe? The most popular single option - "devo max", with
Dominion-like independence within the United Kingdom - is off the ballot paper. So do you vote for full sovereign independence - Edwin Morgan's beautiful "Respublica Scotorum" - without really wanting it? Perhaps many will. And this is because there's a new and powerful factor in this game. It's the Yes that means No - independence as the only way to save Scotland from the demolition of the British welfare state by the Westminster parties.
Devolution, even run by SNP governments, can't protect Scotland against this steepening plunge into neoliberal barbarism. That's the Yes campaign's own "Project Fear", and my sense is that it will prove infectious in the months ahead.
In their long struggle to regain independence, the Poles used to argue: "Poland Yes! But what sort of Poland?" That's the right question for Scotland - and also the right assertion. And the greatest change in these 35 years is the rise in confidence. Back then, many voted No out of self-mistrust. This time, many will go to vote saying: "Scotland Yes! - but No to independence."
The "once-in-a-lifetime" chance? No, I don't think so. The greatest moral and political challenge in three centuries? Certainly. But the Scots do things by halves. In 1979, there was real heartbreak: "our only chance and we blew it". And yet, 20 years on, a Scottish Parliament reconvened.
There is a heavy process of change flowing now. If there's a No next year, the time will come round for a fourth referendum on the same question. Maybe not in my lifetime. But in yours, boys and girls - in yours.