Outside, it’s sub-zero and sunny as I start this. A New Year’s Day snowfall has left my little town looking more like it should at this time of year. The ice is frozen on the sidewalks and roads: that’s been a rare occurrence during the green Christmas just passed.
Once again, my home and area finds itself closing up, not quite locking down, in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases, through death rates are low, most of the population got their shots, and things have felt something like normal. These measures, I’m not too fond of this time around: our leadership had been tasked to develop a “stay open” plan to ensure that small businesses could weather any resurgence while still trying to protect people from infection.
They did not do this, obviously, and now we’re here, with thousands of people in hospitality, cinema, and other public-facing businesses laid off with only half of the financial support the government offered last time. The stress, anxiety, and anger is as palpable in the air as the billowing steaming of nearby chimneys.
In the greater world, outside of the pandemic, I read news of Russian troops readying to invade Ukraine, and Chinese deployments of hypersonic missiles designed to destroy U.S. carrier groups protecting Taiwan.
I see information of glacial ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica readying to melt into the ocean, which would raise sea levels high enough to flood coastal cities around the world.
There is some good news to counteract the bad, but I don’t see them occupying equal scale or impact. What is a feel good story of one soldier surprising his daughter at a basketball game in a TikTok reel compared to the planetwide catastrophes shaping up around us as we speak?
As we start 2022, frankly, it’s nuts out there.
Personally, the Christmas break and the first few days of the New Year have found me sliding back into deeper inquiry, shadow work of the kind that, just a couple of years ago, I thought I needed a group to help me with. I still may: some of these feelings and fears, all those things about my life and psyche that I don’t want to look at, can be tremendously difficult to be present to, to bear (literally, to carry), but letting them go…