Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A quote for our times

Barbara here, with my last post of 2015. I notice several of my blog mates have already acknowledged the passing of 2015 and the arrival of 2016, and of course the news is full of retrospectives and predictions... The year's top 10 of just about everything, the year's most important stories, etc. Besides giving journalists something to write about, these thumbnail sketches of the year serve to remind us of all that's happened, and highlight some of the crucial ups and downs of the life we have just barrelled through.

Can you stand another small commentary on the year that was? When I reflect back on 2015, it feels like a rollercoaster of wild extremes. Floods and droughts, heat and cold. Appalling terror and heart-warming inspiration, despair and hope.

All across the world, we seemed to battle one climate anomaly after another. Here in Canada alone, last winter the west coast had flowers in February and the east coast stayed in the deep freeze for months. This winter is starting off the opposite. Last weekend in the east, we were playing golf in shorts on green grass, while the west dug out from snowstorms and flooding. Winter only found its way to Ottawa yesterday, although admittedly she's making up for lost time, dumping over a foot of snow in blizzard conditions.

The world of politics was even more extreme. ISIS beheaded innocent aid workers, and our Canadian Prime Minister welcomed refugees arriving off the plane. Angela Merkel welcomed millions of desperate people to Germany, while Donald Trump proposed walls and bans to keep people out.

I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes of all time; "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness... it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair".

I love this quote because it captures the tension and conflict inherent in all human endeavour and in every piece of good fiction. If we write every character and scene with contradictions in mind, however small and subtle, the story will crackle with energy and power.

On the real stage of life, however, occasionally it's nice to have a little break from all the storm and drama. Dickens has aptly described 2015. Let's hope 2016 brings with it more hope, light, and wisdom. And if you want storm and drama, pick up a good crime novel!

Happy New Year to all!

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