Sunday, December 27, 2020

We're at a crossroads. Which way will we go?


I think you all know by now that I'm taken with the idea of liminality -- the place or point at which things meet. Dawn and dusk are liminal times. Beltane, in early May, and Samhain, in late October, are also liminal times, when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest.

This period we're in now -- the days between Christmas and the New Year -- has traditionally been another liminal time. I've heard it has to do with the calendar; in an early version, each month was assigned the same number of days, leaving a period of several days between the final month of one year and the first month of the new year. However these extra days came about, they became a sort of time out of time, given over to feasting, merrymaking, and all sorts of mischief, encouraged by a Lord of Misrule

Then, of course, the Catholic Church got hold of things and turned the party into the twelve days of Christmas.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. 

I saw a striking image on Facebook a few days ago. It showed a crossroads in a desert: a road crossing over an arroyo or a seasonal stream. The caption suggested that 2020 -- the whole year -- has been a crossroads. And in many ways, I think, it's true. Modern life as we know it came to a screeching halt in mid-March, once we had an inkling of how bad things were going to get. A lot of what transpired afterwards was pretty awful. I don't have to enumerate the bad stuff -- all of us were there. 

But good things happened this year, too. People got married. Babies were born. Some folks discovered they liked working from home. Others recovered from cancer or some other terrible but non-COVID-19 illness.

For me, on the whole, 2020 has been a good year. I was able to retire from my day job on schedule, and I moved from the East Coast to New Mexico when I'd planned to do so. I'm a homebody anyway, so not being able to see people in person hasn't bothered me much. Some things have been inconvenient, to be sure, but overall, life unfolded for me pretty much as I expected it would. And yes, I know how lucky -- how privileged -- I am to be able to say that.

Regardless of how 2020 treated each of us, we are all standing, now, at a crossroads. The New Year stretches before us, bright with promise for some of us, shrouded in mystery for others. That's not metaphorical. Once or twice in my lifetime, I have stood on the threshold of a new year and could not -- could not -- make out where I would be at the end of it. In each case, those years have been marred by some personal upheaval.

That's not the case this year. When I look ahead to the end of 2021, I see myself settling in here in Santa Fe. I see the vaccines taking hold, allowing the rhythms of life -- of all our lives -- to resume beating normally. 

Or rather, beating to our new normal. Because maybe, just maybe, good things will come from having hit pause this year. The caption for that crossroads image I saw on Facebook said, in part, "Coming together and creating compassion and support will shape the future of how the planet and humanity will move forward." Those seem like worthy goals to me. 

Happy New Year, everyone.


These moments at the bloggy crossroads have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. We're so close to the finish line! Keep washing your hands and wearing your mask!


Linda Lee Williams said...

Love the analogies, Lynne, and your vision for our future. I’m happy your move went so well and you’re enjoying Santa Fe. It was fun following your journey. Happy New Year!

Lynne Cantwell said...

Thanks so much, Linda! Happy New Year to you, too!