Riding the Wave, 4. A Missing Calendar.
As I looked at my neglected garden this morning, I realized that we are already in November. Yet, I seem to be missing a chunk of the year. It's always been cold this year, it seems, though we have gone through a kind spring, and a beautiful summer.
There have been no markers to set off any of the different months or seasons. We have been told we have to stay home, and avoid crowds. Festivals have been cancelled, and all sorts of celebrations. We have heard reports of family gatherings that have propagated the virus in communities. Few options are open to us for getting together. It's been a year of the individual.
But man is a social animal. That is why there are celebrations at certain points of the year. We have always felt the need as a society to get together and celebrate markers along the year. These are communal festivities that remind us of the passing of time. Without them, the year drags along emptily; we could be in any season or month, and we only have the surrounding nature and the calendar to tell us of it.
This is why my parents, and others before them, would walk kilometers to a fesitivity. It was a point in time where people would gather to mark a moment of the year, a celebration that marked an instance in time. It's not surprising that many people still say, "last Saint John's," or "two Easters past." These markers have been around far longer than the calendar. They made up the ancient calendar, and ruled society for eons.
This year those ancient markers are missing. They're still there, but we have not gathered to celebrate them. Get-togethers on the internet are not the same. It's not a matter of simply seeing others' faces, but a matter of physically coming together, giving hugs, shaking hands, rumpling children's hair, reading body language. For today's small children, this year will be memorable for missing out. Most will remember little about this time. They will remember, however, get-togethers with friends from previous and from later years. The necessity of being physically close is necessary, and a screen cannot substitute for it.
For most of us, this will be a lost year, a year in which time dragged on, year without end. At the moment we have our hopes set on the vaccines which are appearing, and which are promised to be delivered some time next year. Until then, and until enough people are vaccinated and the acute danger is past, we will continue in a limbo of sorts.