It’s been far too long since I have written here. This year, 2020, has been challenging for all of us. Some more than others, I am sure. I have journaled in another private journal, one where I can post bread recipes as well as deep dark thoughts. I realize this is called Dark Thoughts for a reason. Perhaps it is time to return.
On my mind right now is the arc of the year. We started with a beautiful vacation in Chile and ended with Covid. Over 250,000 people in the US have died from it. Millions are infected We are just now learning the long term effects of the virus. WSJ just printed an article on those without severe symptoms when they got the disease are now showing other long term effects, like memory loss, rapid heart beat, and lung / breathing issues. It also possibly has a long term effect on depression and mental health. If you didn’t get the disease in a huge way to start, it can still linger. The effects here will be with us for years to come – if not our whole lives.
Remember when we were in lockdown and the air was clear? Record levels of pollution were swept from view, breathing became something you could do in China, Europe, and over major US cities. We taught ourselves how to use Zoom, how to have parties virtually, to eat together at dinner, how to make bread, build shelves, and love our pets. I think my cats invented Covid so they could have us home more. In all seriousness, we did have a moment where we figured out what was important to us and savored it. It felt too brief. I question whether when this is over if we will remember it? Will we build on it?
Personally, I learned at least three new skills, and have a lovely sourdough starter that I’ve kept alive for almost a year. (!) I have baked and given it away to friends and family. I’ve been working on Spanish, and creating things with my photography, as well as learned how to be a personal coach and learned that I really can meditate. All of us have explored something new. If we haven’t, we probably have been driven crazy by the news… ah, the news…
We’ve suffered through the hate and verbal wars of an election cycle. The bitterness that divides us has become rancid, choking. I am tired of the yelling and the hate. I’m tired of the lack of civil discourse that actually means something. I have learned to stay silent, on Zooms and in calls, when I passionately long to just talk about our state with informed, thoughtful people. I have hope that because this election was mostly done via balloting, we have changed the way we run elections and election campaigns. Perhaps not. Washington is slow to change, and harsh on those who would have change happen.
Now, as we move into the time of contemplation, a time of giving thanks for what we have, and becoming crazed with shopping, I wonder if we can remember that we’re still learning to do things differently. I wonder if we can come out of this year with a sense of being better than we were. I want to believe it. As I look outside, see the sunrise clinging to the snow-covered trees, I wonder if our perspective can become quieter, calmer, thoughtful. Can we move from the divisiveness that has driven us to this point? Can we move from the loneliness to solitude? Can we take joy in who we are, and what we can become, instead of what we were?
It was time for a reset. It was time for humanity, and the world, to take stock of what we have become. Perhaps that is more so in the Western world than everywhere else. Perhaps it is even more so in the U.S. than anywhere else. We are the teenagers of the world – testing our boundaries and driving ourselves and everyone else crazy. We’re the passionate ones that let our emotions rule and not our humanity. If we could each find one positive thing to change about ourselves, and the world, in the coming year, I say we do it. Even just here, in the U.S. Could we shut up and listen more? Could be focus on solidarity as humanity, and not a political party? Not any party? Could we lend a hand or a lawnmower, instead of our contempt? The world is a tiring place if we continue to take it all in. If we can make one corner of it palatable, perhaps that will spread.
My next loaf of bread is about to go in the oven and the cat is crying for attention in the office. There is a turkey to cook, casseroles to make, and a pie to bake. All for just Doyle and me to enjoy. And the cats. I appreciate what I am becoming, continuing to become, or will become. I appreciate all that I have, and all that I have not. I appreciate you, wherever you are, and wish you the most thoughtful of Winter seasons as it all comes upon us.