This is the way the year ends...

...or is it?

New Years Eve 2020

The skies were a near unvarying shade of gray all day here in Middle Tennessee so that when the sun set for the final time on 2020 there were no spectacular shows of color, just a quiet fading to black. At first glance, it seemed a fitting end as I was driving back from the creek with the kids. The year of so much turmoil apparently has been left with no parting shots. I can’t help but be reminded of the last line of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men:” “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.” 

But of course, this isn’t the end of the world, just the end of a rather tumultuous year. And it’s really only the end of a day. For tomorrow is a new one, and the ducks that were riding the current in the swollen creek today have no concept of this artificial date/time/calendar thing we impose upon our existence. 

I took a walk with the kids and the dog and the wind and water were both alive. Cold air woke us up and made us live. The stream overflowed its banks and teased us with swirling eddies of icy water that the boys couldn’t help but put their hands in despite the cold. Our boxer, Beau, got many nosefuls of different smells he can’t smell at the house and read many stories in the grasses by the path. 

And the kids and the ducks and the dog all reminded me that the big deal isn’t so much that tomorrow is a new year, even though we will do the traditional Southern fare of black-eyed peas and collard greens and wish each other prosperity and happiness, but it’s a new day.  A new day to work for the thriving of everyone and to work on ourselves until we can say as Steven Charleston does in the intro to his new book Ladder to the Light that we are “calm souls.” Charleston says that means, “According to the ancient tradition, it means I have something I can share. The peace I feel is not something I am to keep, but give away” (p. 11). 

So somewhere between the ducks riding the current and Charleston’s definition of a calm soul, I see what I want to achieve going forward. It will be the work of far more than one calendar year, but that’s okay, I’ve never found growth to pay any attention to these artificial lines we draw anyway.

Here’s to tomorrow. 


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What I’m Reading this Week

I actually finished Lindsey’s book and Owens book already and while very different in genre, the writing quality and story-telling of each are trandscendent. And I’ve only read the intro to Bishop Charleston’s today but it is promising to be equally amazing.

  • Praying with our Feet by Lindsey Krinks

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

  • Ladder to the Light by Steven Charleston