There were so many hurricanes that the weather service ran out of names and used Greek letters. A virus infected the world. Entire cities were shut down. Pollution dropped across the planet. An explosion levelled the port of Beirut. Millions of people caught Covid-19. More than a million died.
Birds, fish and four legged animals were seen in areas that used be thronged by people, traffic, and smog. The black lives matter movement spread throughout the western world. Two old white men fought for the soul of the American democracy. A black man became the winningest car racer of all time. A woman was elected Vice-President. Tourism dropped to zero in most countries.
The lights were turned off in Broadway. Hamilton was streamed. Votes were counted, then counted again and again. A show about a crazy man abusing tigers became a hit. A prince and princess left the Royal family and moved to tinsel town. Tens of millions of acres burned in Australia as brave firefighters rescued koala bears. Kim Jong Un died and then came back. The President was impeached and then came back. The stock market crashed and then came back.
A cluster of high profile and prominent sex offenders were arrested, fired, and shamed. A movie called Parasite won the best picture award. The #metoo moved mainstream. RBG, who fought for equality left us, so did a basketball star.
Reality became virtual. Schools and Colleges conducted classes on laptops, web cams and microphones. Dressing from the waist up became the new office attire. Graduates twirled their tassels in their own homes. Empty cubicles stared at each other across the midtowns of major cities. The commute was replaced by a quick dash to the corner of a room now designated as the office. Puppies were adopted in large numbers.
Toilet paper became a precious commodity. People legally walked into a bank with a mask, dark glasses, and a hat, handed the teller a note, took their money and walked out. Baking became a national past time, as conversations on ‘whose sourdough starter was better’, replaced the ‘whose sports car was better’ in high society.
Signs thanking healthcare and essential workers sprouted on suburban lawns. The commitment and bravado of the nurses, doctors and all frontline workers caring for patients was unprecedented. Nor should the toughness and dedication of the police, firefighters, grocery clerks, waitresses, delivery people be discounted any less.
We discovered that the ‘essential workers’ get paid far too less.
Two words defined the year. Realization and Hope.
The realization that we discovered what is absolutely essential in life. The realization that what matters is not the materialistic acquisitions, rather the strength of the relationships. The relationships we have with our fellow humans, with animals and nature, with the earth and with our spiritual or religious beliefs.
And that the human spirit is endowed with a never-ending sense of hope. That the darkest days will always turn to light. That even the caged bird sings the song of freedom.