As we stand on the first step of another year, perhaps most of us naturally look back and reflect, and hope to gain insight on all the experiences during the last 365 days. But I must say, having spent much of 2021 engaged in more introspection than I thought possible, today, I’d rather focus on dreaming dreamy dreams for 2022. But mostly, looking across the horizon of hardships we all fought through last year, I’d say it is time to restore hope: hopes big and small. With faith in each other all our collective wonder and desire will certainly translate into hope, wouldn’t you agree?
If there is but one gift that 2020 brought to our small spinning globe, it is a real understanding of the transient nature of life. We have stood witness as industry and commerce and worship and governance and every aspect of our daily existence stalled. Death came calling too. To date COVID-19, something we had never heard of a short year ago, has extinguished 1.97 million lives: from your family to those in Mexico, from Iran to India, from China to the White House, COVID disrupted our every interaction and halted our every routine. Reflecting on 2020, I shudder to think of how much wine I consumed, how rarely I put on leather shoes to go do something professional, instead how many hours I doom-scrolled, fretted or cried or spent angry. Eager to hold onto our fleeting and magnificent lives despite all the restrictions, we retreated into our homes, and over the ensuing months began to read poetry and fiction again, used our phone to call friends, dreamt outlandishly about the future and recalled our best memories fondly, and even created something like love from that swirling ball of fear and chaos and forced void. We found, as Dickinson so aptly wrote, “Hope” is the thing with feathers.
Although I live in the northern hemisphere, and am not a stranger to the harsh white against blue, with an icy wind, much of my real joy comes from diving into open bodies of warm waters, as is evidenced from the travel choices I made in 2019: vacationing with a warm breeze blowing the high clouds along their way and diving in.