31 Dec Submerged Willow
A variant of the Corona virus rampages through the UK now. Whatever your perspective on the virus, restrictions as a consequence, and the UK’s changing boundaries with Europe, we are living with uncertainty. The spectre of climate change continues to slink past our political gatekeepers. Are we lost enough?
As the year turns, a pink camellia in our garden, which was blossoming un-seasonally early, has now been chewed by a hard frost. The Old River Lea rose alarmingly, the marshes sodden at the edges. The river is full of willow tears. Branches and twigs are scattered on the ground in the wake of Storm Bella. Much else is also out of right relationship in our world.
2020 has been a bumper year for grief. What might have been hidden away in other years as a minority interest for the bereaved, has through necessity come to the fore. Unexpected crisis, loss, isolation, disappointment, anxiety and depression have devastated many. I feel incredibly lucky to no longer be caring for parents and children. Huge respect is owed to those who are juggling care roles – personal and public.
Social injustice has also rightfully been made visible this year. I see the consequences of unequal power dynamics playing out. We have seen grassroots movements take to the streets and social media, but we still have a long way to go. The impact of collective trauma is only just beginning to be recognized. I am learning about the relationship between what pains me, and what we carry systemically. I have been navigating my way through a tsunami of wise words and courageous expressions. Sophy Banks, Bayo Akomolafe, and Thomas Hübl are among those who are illuminating the landscape of this ‘lostness’ for me.
This year I feel as though I have more to be grateful for than ever. I am extremely lucky to have hugs, organic broccoli, wi-fi, urban wild to walk in, time for creativity and squirrel friends. In appreciating the things I have, I try to also imagine life in other shoes, less comfortable than mine. I try to see political differences, polarizing arguments, and different viewpoints as a result of the different stories we hear, or tell ourselves. I welcome curiosity, more tolerance and celebrate kindness. I hope also to be kind to myself when I fail in these and other things.
I am trying to sit with not knowing, with the uncertainty of ‘lostness’. Alongside the relationships that have grown and deepened this year, I find myself leaning more into the transrational; the things that are beyond the rational, that can’t be easily explained in logical ways. I am finding my way through art, intuition, ritual, and faith in the unseen and unknown. May we recognise that we are lost, and find our way, both individually and together.