The passing of Leonard Cohen struck me as unsurprising. Yes, he was 82. But in the year that 2016 is turning out to be, it is a wonder that anyone survives it. When I read the news of Cohen’s passing, I thought strangely of my fish we lost earlier this year. He was robust, stamina-driven and, ultimately, fallible like the rest of us.
Perhaps that’s melodramatic. I’m okay with that. I know people who have had incredible years, filled with flourishing dreams and great things. Yet, even they have felt deeply affected, on a human-base-level, by this year.
But to chalk it up to the year places far too much power into a human-crafted concept which, after all, is an illusion. Time is not a reality because we created the calendar. It was not given to us, nor is it something that Nature looks at, checks on and decides how it should behave. In fact, it is the opposite way round.
Just as time will pass, things transform and the seasonal moves of our world continue to turn. Perhaps we are entering a winter of humanity. Keeping my eyes on spring seemed difficult this week. To be fair though, it’s been difficult for a lot of reasons, and for far longer than these seven days.
Operating within a winter framework feels cold. Just as the season turns many of us to hermits, perhaps I’ve been one all along. Solace is, at least, the comfort of my dogs’ heads on my lap; the cadence of laughter at my dinner table and the texture of home.
I think, very much, that nothing will remain untouched by this year, but there are no guarantees that this will end, or soothe. It’s up to us to do that and, the only way to, is to think beyond the winter. I will think of spring while I try to shovel the snow and make sense of the mess. I will remember that, beyond the rain, grass will grow tall. I’ll think of warm bears in caves, hibernating their way towards sunshine. And sometimes, every now and then, I will look at the winter, determined to find the beauty in it. Occasionally, I will look at the winter and see only the chilled desolation of it, like the tree in my yard that’s – for no reason at all – dropped all its leaves. In the reality of seasons, right now, at my house, it’s spring. And that’s why, when I look at the world with its winter of humanity, I must turn my head back towards spring. Because, if anything, the winter will end and spring will come.
Nature is like that. I should be ready.