Earlier this week, before snow bathed the city in inches of white, as if to erase all that had been written before and leave a fresh start for a new year to come, I went on a late afternoon walk with my dog.
It was a warm day for December, the kind that compels people to leave their homes and walk in pairs. Rokan was my partner, and the day seemed kind to his joints, which have become stiff with time, the way they will for us all if we’re lucky enough to get that far.
For as much as our world has transformed, the world still evolves as it always has, and always will.
The walk was pleasant and crisp, and we paused to sniff many things—him the bushes, me the air, both of us reveling in the gift of a breeze—but it wasn’t until we got back inside that I saw the sun about to set.
I caught it by chance, happened by the window at the right moment.
The colors almost surprised me. It’s like I’d forgotten that once every 24 hours the world has a chance at that kind of drama, all fuchsia and violet and tangerine.
I could see birds swirling in the distance, dark pinpricks against the paint spilled by a setting sun.
I wondered what it felt like to be them, just then, flying so close to the heavens in the brisk winter air, bathed in fluorescence.
Just then it occurred to me that in this year—with all it’s demanded, everything that’s changed in our lives, our daily rhythms, our hopes and goals and practices of peace—not one thing has changed for the birds, or for so many other earthly creatures.
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For as much as our world has transformed, the world still evolves as it always has, and always will—gradually, slenderly, with one stroke at a time, not in bursts and gasps but in one long glide, not unlike the flight of those birds, specks in the distance, swirling in the highlights of the sun.
And for just that moment, the world looked as it always had, and an unknowable joy spread through my bones and left me with a kind of warmth I haven’t felt in months, even now, in the middle of December.