Christmas is no more. Its carols, such as they were this unusual season, echo but only hauntingly. Mere phantoms adding their wisps to the great mass of Christmases past. Marley molders still.
New Year’s Day is over. Its subdued fireworks and muted revelry accessible only to memory. The hangovers? Mostly resolved, though a slight ringing of the ears or blurring of vision may yet attest to the Eve’s overindulgence — a wee bit of spirits was called for, we survived after all!
Though meager when compared to years past, the recent celebrations served great purpose, standing as bulwarks protecting our individual and collective psyches from the ravages of the year that was. But fleeting as always, the Holidays are gone, whatever fortitude they provided waning.
Now, I fear, comes the winter of our discontent.
An ordinary January is bad enough. Unwelcome winter winds blow tattered Christmas banners hanging from downtown’s lamp posts. Tannenbaums so recently the center of children’s desires now stripped and thrown to the curb unwanted. Christmas lights that inspired three weeks ago now only seem neglectful. All ensconced in smudges of cold, damp gray.
February, thankfully brief, brings more biting wind and a holiday of its own with promises of romance that, alas, for many delivers only the loneliness of unrequited love.
Duplicitous March lures us with hints of warmth and green then slips a blade of ice between our ribs, leaving us to languish in the cold, snowy mud.
Did I mention I do not like winter?
The year 2020 mauled us like a bear.
The year 2021 we are told will be different.
Yet today’s headlines herald further arguments about the Presidential election that will not end, Russian and Chinese interference with matters of national security, ongoing racial injustices and a growing schism between peoples based upon race, gender and economic status. More suicides in one year than I can remember in a lifetime to date — younger and younger. Looming above it all, record numbers of new COVID cases and deaths.
The calendar is new. The mauling continues.
The reality is 2021 will not be better of its own accord. It is incumbent on us to make it so — through effort and patience, by hard work and prayer, with persistence and dare I use the word “cooperation” we must fashion it to a higher purpose, to a greater good.
I am hopeful that new and established leadership at all levels will seek greater inclusion and a more conciliatory tone. Let’s get back to representing all constituents not just those with the loudest voices or the biggest pocketbooks.
We need to come together to begin the long overdue discussion of how to get to a place where everyone feels mutually safe and respected, a destination where we all can “know justice, know peace.”
COVID must be defeated. Vaccines are becoming more readily available, but until that process gains traction, remain cautious and courteous. Too many are taking ill. Too many are in the hospital. Too many are dying.
If you are experiencing anxiety in these dark days (and who isn’t from time to time?) — reach out for help. You are somebody of great worth! As Teddy Roosevelt exhorted, “(Take) action — Do things — Create!”
On the other hand, if you’re having a resilient, great day — extend a hand to someone in need. Help someone, you’ll never regret it.
Let’s turn things around…
Did I mention I like the Spring?
Eliot called April the “cruelest month” but I beg to differ. Excepting the fifteenth I’ve always found that it delivers more than it promises of sun and soft rains.
Anticipating an at least slightly more traditional Kentucky Derby Festival in 2021, how could anyone around these parts not look forward to May?
And is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy a June wedding, swaying with other celebrants (from a hopefully shortened social distance) as a young couple shares their first dance?
The year 2021 has begun. To paraphrase Marc Antony:
“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course WE wilt!”