We Have Turned the Year

On the last day of the year, Katherine May builds a fire on the beach near her home in Whitstable, England and watches the sun die into the horizon.  With her friends gathered around the flames, together they repeat, marking the moment, 

We have turned the year.

It gives us the fleeting impression, writes Katherine,  that we have seized control - not of the seasons - but of our response to them. Her new book, Wintering, The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, is a recent gift to me, kindly arriving in this hollowed out time when I step back to notice where I've been and may possibly be going in the year ahead.   

Many of us are exchanging wishes for a brighter new year, a better one; some are ready to chuck this one - good riddance!  And it's shaded dark, for sure, this year in Winter.  We've all been dislocated, out of sync, fallow . . . or worse.   But I don't want to leave this year without harvesting its spare, hard-earned gifts.

Like connection.  In this most solitary of years, I feel more keenly than ever how connected is our entire webbed world.  How every act affects nine others, or ninety . . . how every time I slip on a face mask, I bow to those around me in a quiet gesture of respect.  In the grocery line, I feel joined to the strangers.  In front of my laptop, I feel knitted to women in Nigeria and Pakistan, artisans suffering the same isolation. 

And creativityWinter, says, Katherine May, is inevitable. Plants and animals don't fight the winter.  They adapt.  They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through.  And so do we.  The trailblazing ideas that emerged out of our common confinement are breath-taking. We transformed ourselves. I don't mean only in response to Covid, but also in response to the heat of racial injustice exploding in our midst. We are different now and I want to know that difference in my bones.

We have turned the year. 

We have turned the year.

With cheer ~

Susan Hull Walker