“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”
– Emily Dickinson
Welcome 2021! There was a pastel sunrise over the mountains out my window, as the sunshine poured slowly over the landscape like molasses, shedding light over the dusky landscape and illuminating where we are, spreading hope of where we are going, soon to be bathed in sunlight.
I can remember spending a few New Year’s Eves with a childhood friend who liked to write predictions for the coming year—in politics, family, school, and most importantly at that age, our social lives. More imaginative and less depressing than resolutions, which always seemed to be targeted at correcting what was wrong with us. I have no desire to write a litany of what happened in the year gone by; I’m looking forward with hope for the new year.
The vaccines have arrived and real human beings, even some I know, have already received them. As the sun slowly lights my yard this morning, so the vaccines will slowly be distributed to all of us who are willing (I hope you are) sprinkling us with the fairy dust of protection against the insidious pandemic that dominated 2020. The tears came as I watched videos of a ninety-year-old woman in the U.K. and a nurse in New York receive the first vaccines in their countries. By late spring or early summer, I should be able to receive mine. I believe in Fauci and the reality of science, and I’m so glad he will continue to lead us in the quest of good health.
We have just left the hottest year in recorded history, which spawned disastrous forest fires. But in 2020 we consumed less, burned less oil, created less pollution, walked more in nature. Let’s keep that thought and practice into the new year. I do resolve (ok, I’m making one resolution) that my next car will be all electric; I’m already researching the possibilities. My son went electric a few years ago and is thrilled with the switch. When he gassed up his girlfriend’s car recently, he told me it made him feel dirty. I’m moving toward clean energy.
When I wake up in the morning and check the news, I am relieved not to be bombarded by a narcissistic, power-hungry bully spewing lies and insults. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris give me hope for a government more sensitive to those that are in need; there are so many now that have been affected by loss of jobs and income, loss of loved ones. Let’s keep the calls for social justice and the vision of a democracy that serves everyone in the forefront of our conversations and hope those concepts come through in legislation. And I’m fervently hoping that the words and actions of hatred and white supremacy will diminish.
Release the children in cages. Those mistreated immigrant families, victims of racial prejudice in our own country, will need counseling and assistance to put their lives back together. Let’s welcome them. Open our hearts and country once again to those fleeing persecution and dangerous situations in their home country. They have already suffered more than enough before reaching our borders.
I zoomed in to a local county government meeting where representatives from several Native American tribes spoke about the genocide of their people at Sand Creek Massacre, in my home state of Colorado, and the need to rename places in the state and our county that have hurtful names from past figures that caused those murders to happen. These speakers shared that their elders advised them not to tell those stories to white people; they may be subject to further prejudice and injustice. Again, the tears came. But the hope is there, because there are finally conversations about these events and the effects they have had on indigenous people to this day, and there are people openly expressing empathy for those who have been and still are victims of that injustice. Our county legislators invited them to speak, seeking agreement with the suggestion those names be changed. The renaming must come along with education so we can all understand what happened, and why we are responding today.
Sometimes you need a little perspective on things. Looking west from Denver, the mountains dwarf the city below. Driving down to the city through the foothills from my little town, peaks slowly rise and engulf the details of the landscape, seeming to enunciate what’s really important. Why trouble yourself in those little day-to-day worries while we are here watching over you, with our caps of white and regal stance? And likewise, the mountains slowly shrink into the background while driving up the hill, gaining in altitude, re-immersing me in my everyday world, their craggy tops hardly visible in the valley of my home village.
So I try to step back and see the big picture: vaccines to vanquish the virus, the return of integrity and compassion in government, social justice for black and brown lives, taking action to slow climate change, and more rosy skies in the morning. It will take a while for the vaccines to be widespread enough to provide a measure of safety and in the meantime we must remain vigilant. But I’m ready to leave behind the specter of 2020 and its tensions and tragedies.
Spring and summer will be here soon, with buds of promise, flowers of joy, and then fall colors of harmony. The flora and fauna know not the numbers of the year. Mother Nature has her own schedule. As the weather warms, the layer of ice on the lake will melt. The hummingbirds will return to hover their little bodies splashed with color around my feeders, whirring their melodious tunes, around May first, then feed in a frenzy waiting in line for their turn before they zip off to warmer climes on Labor Day weekend. The deer will chomp on my wild grasses and bed down next to the bushes at night. Bighorn rams will grace my open space with their majestic presence in spring, climbing up to loftier heights as the summer warmth sets in.
And we will enjoy the company of our friends and family again, laugh with them, gather in our favorite restaurants, listening to local musicians. We will hug again. Gradually we will even feel comfortable enough to sit alongside each other at concerts and cultural events. I’m looking forward to traveling again, maybe just in-country later in the year to visit family members, but some canceled trips abroad are waiting. It’s coming soon. It’s on the horizon.
Wishing you all a welcome and wonderful 2021 of hope.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
whispering ‘it will be happier’…” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
A postcript of thanks
And my warmest gratitude to you who have been following my blog or just dropping by now and then. I began this one in March 2020, replacing an older blog. My heartfelt thanks for reading my Saturday (or sometimes Sunday) scribbles and viewing my photography. Please keep visiting into this hopeful new year!
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Email me at: RRontheroad@hotmail.com