A new year has come, a new beginning, or just another Saturday, depending on your perspective. The clocks will keep on ticking, moving forward, oblivious to the way we label the days. Mother Earth doubtless has little regard for the insignificant significance we place on time.
In our little corner of the universe, we had made a plan to stock up on groceries in Hilo the same day as our last medical appointment of the year, then hunker down and stay home, safe in our nest, protected by the orchids and lemons in the garden, until the new year had passed, until the hoopla was over.
It was a good plan. At midnight on the 31st, the fireworks erupted. Rochi slept soundly through it all, the quilt tucked up under his chin. I listened to bangs and pops and rat-a-tats for what felt like a long time, then fell asleep to the the scent of gunpowder drifting in through the windows.
On the 3rd, we ventured into Pahoa–some would call it a town but it’s barely a village–to test the waters and do some chores. There had been no apocalypse that we could discern. In fact, things looked as they usually do. Barefoot, gray-headed hippies lounged on the uneven boarded sidewalks flanking the main street. At the bank, there was no line. I greeted my favorite teller, exchanging pleasantries across the plastic barrier. I discovered both lemon balm and chamomile on the shelves at Island Naturals, a major coup. And Long’s had finally gotten Heineken light back in stock.
Back at home, we were pleased, maybe a bit smug, feeling like we’d won something unexpected. In reality, we’d merely dipped our toes into the watery edge of the coming year and found the temperature pleasant.
We continue our residence in limbo, along with the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, waiting, wondering, worrying where and when and how we may end up. Within the context of the pandemic, the outside world continues to be full of doom and despair. People still have to face unbearable physical and emotional challenges. My stomach churns when I think of the state of our political system. Mother Earth herself is under threat, seemingly from a different direction every day.
And yet the sun rises over the trees at the rear of our garden. The birds wake up and share news of their dreams and the flowers nod greetings as they dance on the breeze. I want to say all is well with the world even though I know that it’s not, but the idea of a perfect world is appealing all the same.
A very wise friend once said to me that it’s best not to have any expectations because then you can’t be disappointed. That’s how I plan to move ahead through whatever lies in front of my feet. I will keep myself open to the good, the beautiful, the kind and the gentle and welcome it into my heart and home. At the same time, I will acknowledge the bad, the ugly, the nasty and the harsh, but invite it to take a flying leap into a boiling volcano.
Greetings, Year of the Tiger. Let’s see if we can’t keep peace with each other.