The first of January 2021 dawns bright. A strip of pink and blue appears between the horizon and a receding layer of grey cloud. The snow and ice of the last few days has for the moment withdrawn to edges and shadows. Bright green blades of grass cluster around muddy puddles and stand tall amid seeping brown piles of rotting leaves. The air is alive with tiny stinging insects. There is no wind but the bright sky soon gives way to a creeping, gloomy grey cover. This is 2021 – uncertain, tentative, breath-holdingly calm.
Often at the turn of the year I write a few words from my personal reflections on what has past. This time, too much has already been said by many; examined, pondered over, speculated, blamed. The year has been exceptional and exceptionally bleak. Instead I am going to project some hopes for the years to come.
The world will be a kinder place.
We will come to know moments of contact as moments to treasure.
Fleeting nods and smiles will be remembered and replayed in our memories for their warmth and the something special that was shared.
We will value the kindnesses of strangers as kindred acts, and affirmation that we are human.
We will have time for our loved ones.
We might come to welcome shorter working hours and the promise of digital work may see dispersed families and fractured communities moving closer together.
We might see local communities rebuilding around nature for which we will make space, and plan more space for other species. City gardens and allotments will abound.
We will learn to treasure other creatures as sentient beings. We will eat less meat. We may come to eat no meat.
Work will involve fewer hours, so more can work and earn a living. Caring, nurturing, educating and nourishing will become key words in our mission statements. Our goal – to develop the spirit of humanity.
We will come to realise that if our roles are custodians of this planet, they are to preserve and support its wonderful diversity for the benefit of all of its creatures.
Contribution will replace competition as the dominant logic, and giving and sharing replace winning, having, owning in our vocabularies.
In this kinder world league tables will not exist but striving for excellence prevail. Excellence as a habit will be understood and respected as a nurturing process to allow all to reach their potential for the benefit of all.
Above all, I hope there will be time to learn, and time to learn why we learn and time to be as well as time to do.