2021 has become this fantasy which plays out on long days at home when I’m counting the minutes until the 5pm G&T.
It’ll be so different, I think with gin-coloured glasses.
We’ll emerge, like the first day after being sick. You come out of your cave of snotty tissues and trashy magazines and the world is bright and new.
We’re all going to slow down and appreciate one another. People will stop the name-calling, sarcasm, veiled contempt and moral grandstanding online.
We’ll get back to our roots and live sustainably, holistically in harmony with nature.
We’ll be so happy to be here.
Next year will be the year we get it right.
Now we have the rest of 2020 to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done.
“And the ferocious weathers are the perfect foundation; in all tempests we must do something. We must get somewhere-and so the story begins. Truly, the heart delights in it. Adversity, even tragedy, is cathartic and a teacher.” Mary Oliver
Recently, I look at my daughter with a seizure of sadness: what have I brought her into? What kind of world will she grow up in? One which is already plagued with death and disease in her first year of arrival?
It must get better, it has to get better.
Daily walks are my salvation. I pound the pavement, pram in hand, and let my fears wander free. They need space to disappear, to obliterate in the sunshine — when there is sunshine.
I focus on 2021. Will life change? Or will we go back to how things were?
Our ‘normal’ might not be normal once this page of history is turned.
“What is normal? Alexa telling us how to bake an apple pie? Being able to turn the home air conditioner on 10 minutes before we get to our front door? Getting the latest fandango device with a new phone contract? Throwing the toaster in the bin when the control knob gets a bit out of kilter and your toast is a bit crisper than you prefer?” Peter Scammell writes in The Spectator.
Perhaps it’s time to batten down the hatches and learn how to make soup, stews and stock from wilting vegetables. I’m preaching to myself here. I want to learn how to grow food, like everyone else suddenly buying up seeds, realising the precariousness of our economy. We might go full Little House on the Prairie with handmade pasta and egg-laying chickens.
A friend told me you can see fish swimming through the Venice canals for the first time in 200 years because the boats have stopped.
Pollution levels have dropped.
Perhaps Mother Nature is emerging from a cave of disease and death into the bright morning sun.
There are glimmers of hope.
We’ve always had a choice how to live but it hasn’t been felt as keenly until now. How easy it is to get swept in the currents of mindless consumption with little reference to the natural world.
We’re suddenly noticing it, fully; realising how much we rely on Mother Nature when our systems and structures stutter to a halt.
The other day, my husband and I took Matilda down to the creek at the bottom of the street. Huge gums hung over the still green water and the only sound was the gravelly crunch underfoot. We watched a heron dive for fish, it’s long neck emerged like Nessie before disappearing into the depths.
Matilda’s transfixed, her face arranged in awe.
I’m glad she’s oblivious to what’s going on in the world. Sombre-faced politicians appearing on TV every night delivering more bad news, death-tolls soaring, makeshift morgues, markets in free-fall.
I know adversity is a cathartic teacher, and my daughter is more resilient than I would imagine.
But I’m not there yet.
Perhaps once I’ve walked this path, scaled back on the fat of consumerism and adapted to a more sustainable life, I’ll be grateful for the changing seasons of life, even the storms.
Perhaps 2021 will be a good year.
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