Wednesday, January 05, 2022

New Years reflections

I'll start this first blog of 2022 with a wish for a speedy, complication-free recovery to my fellow bloggers, their families, and everyone else who's been affected by Covid, which as you know, unless you've been completely unplugged, is absolutely rampaging across the globe. These are unnerving times and not what we'd hoped for as we enter the third year of this plague.

Welcome to 2022 indeed. Bah.

The next point I want to make is about the meaning of New Years and all this talk about accompanying resolutions. As Douglas said, New Years is supposed to be about new beginnings and endless possibilities. But it has never felt like the right time of year to celebrate new beginnings. New life. New hope. For us Canadians, and for much of the far northern world, January 1st means staring down the two darkest, coldest, and bleakest months of the year before the warmth and light of March. I love winter. I love getting out to play in the snow. Ottawa where I live has plenty of exciting activities. Tobogganing with your kids, cross-country and downhill skiing, skating on the canal, snowshoeing or hiking the crisp, white trails through forests of maple and pine. I have done all of them, and still enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.

Snowshoeing up a mountain

But there are often about three good hours in the day during which to enjoy them. This morning it is -17 C outside, which will warm up to -11 by two o'clock. The sun sets at 4:30. The day, indeed the week, is planned around weather forecasts, which fluctuate wildly. Most times, it takes about fifteen minutes to get dressed up to take the dogs for a walk, let alone go skiing. It's hard work. So much of my day is spent inside, even before the long, dark evenings. During the pandemic, with its isolation and restrictions, even cinema, theatre, shopping, and dining out have often been off limits. January 1st as the promise of new beginning? It doesn't feel like a time to be starting afresh with new resolutions and new determination.

February view from my TV room

The Jewish New Year falls in September. Although that might herald new beginnings in the southern hemisphere, it is the start of the end in the north. Crops ripen, daylight wanes, temperatures begin to drop. It's a beautiful time of year, but it's the culmination of what has been, not a celebration of what's to come.

To me, the perfect time to mark the new year is spring. Maybe the spring equinox. That is truly the time when spirits feel renewed and hope rises. In my case I watch the snow melt at the fringes of the garden and the first spring crocuses poke up. Days become longer than nights, and neighbours come out from behind their snowbanks to greet each other. Smiles everywhere. My thoughts begin to turn to the cottage. 

My morning coffee place

This year it feels especially sensible to put off hopeful thoughts of 2022 for a couple of months. The virus has us by the throat again, exhausting essential workers, stressing business owners, and once again confining to quarters many of us, especially seniors like me. All my hopes of seeing friends and family are on hold with the words "let's see how the case count is in a month". So I limp along with social chats and books events with Zoom and What's App. I read, I write, I watch TV, and try to keep the dogs and myself exercised and entertained. It's a time for small pleasures. 

The time to think big will come.

1 comment:

Barb W said...

Hi Barbara, While I agree with the majority of the points you have made, I disagree, slightly, with the point about not choosing fall as the start of the New Year. Fall heralds in the start of 'no bug season', a start of nature showing us all it's colours, not just the green of summer. It gives us hope that if we can get through the next few bleak months, that there will be re-birth. It's like a pregnancy, you have to get through a few tough months to have the reward.