Happy New Year dear reader!! While it is just one day later than yesterday, we are all celebrating the start of a new year. As I have previously mentioned, life, time, or fate don’t work to calendar. Numbering years and naming months was merely an easy and convenient way for early people to keep track of the planet’s orbit around the sun so they would know when we the different seasons were coming – when to plant the crops, when to harvest, when to get ready for snow, etc. Today marks the advent of yet another revolution around the sun and little more, but millions of us are (or were) wildly celebrating the date because it’s a new year. And they all hope this year is better than last. (As do I)
The reality is, of course, that today is just yesterday’s tomorrow and we all woke up to the same fears, anxieties, and stress. The pandemic is still raging, the red president and the blue president are calling each other out, the red legislators are still fighting with the blue ones, and everything else that weighed heavy upon us last year, yesterday. But as they say, hope springs eternal. And frankly, that simple belief, that credo, has carried countless of heartbroken, scared, hopeless, and lost people on its shoulders since time began. After all, where are we without hope? It buoys us, shelters us, embraces us and carries us forward even when we are paralyzed by despair and desperation and are incapable of moving forward.
One of my favorite mini-vacations has always been a trip to Salem Massachusetts. It is a lovely town, old and steeped in early architecture and history. And it is the universal epicenter for witchcraft. Of course that history is horrific in reality, with the Salem witch trials resulting in the deaths of 25 innocent people due mostly to mass hysteria. But that was over 300 years ago and time has changed Salem, at least in that aspect; witchcraft is still prevalent everywhere there and is openly practiced widely throughout the town. And it is the cornerstone of their tourism economy. Historic buildings and architecture can be found about anywhere and everywhere in New England, but witchcraft? Witchcraft can only be found in Salem.
Salem is a bewitching town; charming and welcoming to all nature of visitors with the aforementioned architecture and history including the House of the Seven Gables. And the Peabody-Essex museum is there as well, offering easily a full day of viewing its treasures. There are restaurants and pubs everywhere offering any type of food you’d care to try. There are hundreds of shops of every nature selling things from touristy tee shirts to fine antiques and everything in between. When we go, I always choose the same hotel: the Hawthorne. A rich and elegant old-world hotel, staying there is like going back in time. We did not get there in 2020, for obvious reasons. But I received an email from them this morning advertising their planned 2021 highlights and my first thought was: “we’re going to make it there this summer”. That, is hope. In reality, I am not completely sure that the vaccine will be adequately deployed to permit us that trip, but I need something to look forward to, a piece of flotsam in the wild waters of today’s climate upon which to cling and stay afloat – hope. We all need to hope.
So in that vein, celebrate this unremarkable day as truly something special – as the fresh start to a new year filled with less anger and divisiveness, a year with more consideration and tolerance, a year with an effective vaccine and a rapidly disappearing virus, a year with stability in our economy, our government, and our lives; a year of hope. Happy New Year dear reader! Stay well!!