It’s a foggy morning at the end of a long, cold, flu-ridden December. Outside balcony door, everything is shades of grey. A cacophony of crows and gulls squeal and caw a kind of call and response, all rhythm and no song. The cat stares out the window, fascinated.
Adele gets ready for work. Every now and then I hear her coughing. She isn’t really able to take sick days. Who would open the store? Who would close it? Who would mind it in between? Never mind there will be very few customers on a day like this, at the end of the year. There is no one to cover for her. The store needs to be open. She has to go in, sick or not.
I sit listening to Vaughan Williams on the turntable, and drinking coffee. I can take sick time, although technically I’m on holiday, and have been since a couple of days before coming down with the flu. And at this point, I am nearly over it. I will have recovered completely by the time I return in January, a year older and no wiser for it.
By most measures, 2016 was not a good year. Whether it was the endless parade of talented people to their graves, the election of The Donald, terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, or even just the thoroughly crappy fall and winter we’ve had in Vancouver, it’s hard not to look forward to a new year with a mixture of hope and dread. On the one hand, one thinks, it has be better than what we’ve just come through. On the other hand, Trump will soon officially be president; the still-living talented are that much closer to joining those who went before them; war and terrorism seem probable on a number of fronts. Everything seems poised on a razor thin precipice.
But, I remind myself, there was much that was good, too. Just this month, my niece, Abigail was born. Her parents, my brother and his wife, were married earlier this year. Adele came through her heart procedure without issue, and stronger than she’s been in over year. One of my best and oldest friends survived not one, but two traffic accidents without long term disability. It’s worth remembering at a time like this that there is birth as well as death; that illness can sometimes be overcome by healing; that we can survive injuries and move on.
As I write this, the fog outside is beginning to lift.