The winter Solstice has always been a time of intense personal reflection for me. As I write this in the early morning, my coffee steaming in my cup, the dense fog outside my window has shrouded the garden and my view of anything more then 2 feet from the house. I can hear the mournful fog horn blow across the sound, warning ferries and other water craft of the danger lurking in the mist. It seems an odd moment to ponder clarity when the world is so opaque and yet fitting too. The Solstice is the perfect time to think of balance. It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year although at the equator they are an equal number of hours. I find it the ideal opportunity to reflect on the past and the coming future. This Solstice is not only marking the end of a year but the end of yet another decade. As the the days of December wind down and the promise of the new year/decade comes into view, I think on all that I have accomplished and what I wish I had done more of.
It’s hard to believe we are already 20 years into the 21st century. I remember Y2K like it was yesterday. Dire warnings about the end of the world proceeded the new year by months because we were told all of the electronic systems did not have the proper numerals to propel us into the next century. We were all so afraid of the unknown and the doomsday clock that was ticking towards the annihilation of the world as we knew it. We tried hard not to be scared but we couldn’t negate it either so we all prepared, some more than others. But the fact was, no one knew exactly what we were facing when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999.
That morning we started the day toasting with champagne. If life was about to change we were going out in style. We had the TV on in the background, ready for whatever would come our way. But then the new year hit Samoa and then Australia and…nothing happened. Over the day we watched the new year sweep across Asia and Europe and finally reach New York and nothing happened. The lights stayed on. The computers were still working. By the time it hit us in the Pacific Northwest, the champagne was flowing freely. I reflect on that memory because, unbelievably, we are now two decades past that nervous time.
Just fathom that thought for a moment! Y2K was 20 years ago (do you remember where you were?)! Two decades! A lifetime. A speck of time. An eternity. 20 years of birth and death, love and loss, fears and joys, the passing of many milestones to mark our journey and a constant reaffirming of the ties that bind us. I have gratitude for the 20 years after Y2K that was never promised to me and I was not certain to expect. I have outlived many loved ones and I reflect on their lives and the loss I feel without them. What I sadly find unbelievable is that 20 years into the 21st century we are still as divided as ever. It’s as though we have learned nothing from our history and our grave mistakes. Each generation has survived a hell that we have not yet learned to stop repeating.
Still, I know I must focus on my own personal growth and what I am doing to cultivate that. That is truly the only power I have. Despite being an avid writer since age 11, four years ago I took the chance to put my writing into a public forum. I often reflect on that scary decision. What is being mirrored back to me in the publishing world is not yet what I hope for but all good things happen in their own time. Patience has never been one of my virtues and I understand that this may be the ideal situation for me to rectify that.
Reflection always makes me think of Stevie Nick’s song Landslide. She sings of seeing her own reflection in snow covered hills and the meaning that held for her. That image resonates with me. I live between two magnificent mountain ranges, the Cascades and the Olympics. I only need to turn around to see my reflection everywhere. My life’s successes are mirrored in so many places if I take the time to look; in the faces of my children; in the life I have built with my husband; in the bonds I have with my family; in the words I write every day. It’s normal to reflect on the past. But now I reflect on the future too. 2020 is around the corner and I can feel it’s seductive energy rising. I realize it can be a most illuminating, successful year for me or not. It will only be what I make it. Maybe that is fate or karma or maybe something else entirely. It certainly doesn’t feel the same as Y2K which is as it should be. But I will still celebrate with champagne and toast the new year once more. Who knows what will be reflected back? Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Make 2020 magical!