(The following is an excerpt—minus the personal news—of my annual Holiday newsletter sent to friends far and near. )
Yesterday I woke up to the sound of rain and took comfort that there is still some semblance of order in the natural cycles that sustain our life. In a time of fires and floods, pandemic worldwide and pandemonium in the White House, how we need some sign that some things might still be dependable. Like Winter rains. Like Happy Holiday cards still coming through the mail slot.
2020 was supposed to be the year of perfect 20/20 vision and though the blind leading the blind took all the headline space, in some ways perhaps it was. If not perfect vision, at least renewed vision from some of us, forced to look inward in our sheltering and then outward with new eyes. More time in solitude, away from the hyper-speed hustle and bustle, brought some in-sight which in turn moved out into the world. The enormous support for Black Lives Matter one of many cases in point, using the time and space granted to begin to face and grieve for our 400 years of systemic racism and finally take some first steps toward healing. And despite the bafflement of the 70 million willing to excuse, support and try to continue 4 years of hate speech, lies, incompetency at the highest levels of government, we in the ended voted to keep democracy alive, to give CPR to its injured self and begin to turn back to a hope with some muscle and backbone. Nothing was more important than this vote for renewed life and restoration of vision. Not the end-all solution, but the necessary start of the next needed step.
One can never be casual about the unimaginable numbers in Covid deaths, the unseen suffering of folks dying without loved ones at the bedside, the devastation of the fires and the near death-rattle of democracy. But partially redeemed by November’s election, some people’s awakening and the sense that the return to business-as-usual might mean greater awareness of life’s fragility, the blessings of sincere hugs, the startling idea that we can be happier consuming less and endlessly distracting ourselves from the important things, I don’t agree that 2020 was a disastrous year. I think it was a needed year, Nature sending us to our room for a time-out and soon (I hope) us returning to the dinner table repentant and determined to be kinder, more awake and alert and ready and willing to help wash the dishes and clean up after ourselves.
May 2021 bring us vaccines, virtue, voices that both sing and speak truth, more vegetables, less vanity and villainy and of course, the vote for Senate victory. May it be so!