As you can tell from the very fact that I’m writing this now, I’m by no means a religious observant Jew. Nonetheless, I appreciate the rhythms and patterns of the year, and endeavour to mark them in some way or another. September has always felt to me to be a good time to begin a new year, to reflect on the past year, and (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) to make amends for harms done (deliberately or inadvertently). The 10 Days of Awe.
What a year this has been. Bad things and good things. More of the bad than the good, for some much much more than for others.
This time last year we didn’t yet know there would be an election in December, and that we would be landed with a PM and government least able to deal well and effectively with all that the year has given us. We certainly didn’t know that we would be facing a pandemic by March. We didn’t know that people (and organisations) close to us would be dealing with existential challenges.
In our small world, we didn’t yet know that youngest son and his family would be moving shortly to be farmers (though we knew it was coming). We didn’t know that seeing family and friends would become something rare and treasured.
I will be spending some time through the next 9 days reflecting on the year past and the year to come. I’ll share some and some not.
In the meantime, I’ll wish you a happy and peaceful New Year. And if you plan to fast on Yom Kippur (as I may), I wish you well over the fast.
I’ll leave you with a bowl of Chilean Guava Berries from my front garden. They’re clearly not the traditional apples and honey, but they are sweet and round and fragrant. They’re a bit of a surprise, like much of this year has been really. But unlike much about this year, in a good way.