Here we are irrevocably committed to another year, 2022, which shoved its way in the door in a fury of storm and power outages (much like last year, if memory serves). What are the odds it will be better than the previous two stinkers? To be fair, the past couple of years haven’t been all bad. We have had our triumphs, epiphanies and achievements, but as far as community goes, 2020 and 2021 have been a struggle for most of us. Gone are the large Hall events, dances and art openings where we freely mingled, unmasked and light of heart. We were innocents, only two years ago. New Year’s Eve 2020 was our last big Hall party, with a Flapper theme from last century. We welcomed the bright new decade with laughter, optimism and grace.
This decade so far resembles the Great Depression more than the Roaring 20s, sadly. We have grown accustomed to watching for danger, wary of strangers with death on their breath. Even those few who take the situation lightly are lonely, surrounded by frightened others. We have withdrawn into our bubbles, those lucky enough to have them. It’s hard on the singletons who enjoyed introverted lives before the pandemic, when one could gain an occasional necessary social infusion then withdraw again into private space. Humans need society: it’s a need, not a want. We all require physical contact and to see others’ facial expressions. These times are very hard on mental health.
Some of us find occasional spaces to have this cup filled, now and then. I was fortunate to be invited to a friend’s at the last minute for New Year’s Eve. For such a small group (fewer than 10), we did the socializing work of 50–dancing, deep talk, fresh connections found and old friendships renewed. I’d nearly forgotten what fun is like! I floated home late, in a cloud of euphoria and wine. Thank you (you know who you are), I needed that more than I knew.
We must make space for all needs, not just the need for safety. A good life includes an element of risk taking and prioritizing of needs. I trust this community and this world to return to center to live with our feet on the ground, and I pray it won’t take falling from a height to land us there. Humans have for some reason evolved this odd delusion that we are not part of a living world with limits and laws (like gravity, like balance). We have long ago stopped taking the physical world seriously, acting like the owners of the world. Does the planet belong to us, or do we belong to it? I fear a comeuppance on the horizon for the hubris of humanity. Or worse–that we continue on as we are–ending with a technological dystopia where humans are all that is left, for however long that might last (surely not long).
Here on our special island, we have always lived closer to the ground than most, but thanks to the Internet, we too can live in the cloud at least part of the time. Thank goodness for the wild world around us, which reminds us every day that we are embedded within a living matrix that feeds us and also feeds upon us. Viruses are a part of nature. It’s good to strive to live. But to strive to ensure that no human ever dies, no matter the cost to all other forms of life–strikes me as crazy. I know only one thing: this too shall pass.