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A long December, and there's reason to believe that maybe this month will be better than the last 11
OK, 2021. You've got one month to show me something. I'm rooting for you.
I’ve been thinking about Counting Crows a lot lately.
They’re one of my favorite bands, whose lyrically melancholy longings telegraphed my own, imprinting on me in my early 20s and reverberating forward into this 50-year-old I am now. (See how poetic and stuff I get when I talk about them? I’m a bard and whatnot.) Adam Duritz, chief weaver of tuneful desolation, is, like me, from Baltimore, and apparently his photo hangs in a downtown hotel display of local rock legends, and he’s come up recently on two of my favorite music podcasts, 60 Songs That Explain The 90s and Waiting For Impact (OK, I brought him up on one of them, as I was the guest.)
Anyway, round here, they’re always on my mind (IT’S A LYRICAL REFERENCE, PEOPLE! I CAN’T BE CONTAINED!) but especially so on this first day of December. Of course, it’s because of “A Long December,” from 1996’s “Recovering The Satellites,” history’s loveliest bleak song about hope. It’s about walking through the last bits of a disappointing year, whose lows seem to be at least partially of your own making. Still, there’s a wish that maybe the ruins you made of the previous 12 months don’t doom you to eternal gloom, and “maybe this year will be better than the last,” even if all you can do is drive to the ocean and remind yourself that you’re connected to something outside of your pain. Maybe you’re in a landlocked place, so the mountains are your ocean, or a frozen lake, or an old building in your city. Whatever your ocean is, maybe that’s what you need.
We’ve all needed that reminder, in the last two years, right? In 2020, weary from a pandemic and racial violence, we looked forward to 2021, only to barrel into an attempted coup (yes it was) and Delta and Omicron and the indelible mark of climate crisis, along with all sorts of other foolishness. There were some high points, like vaccines (yes I’m saying you should get them) and getting to travel a little more. But we could be forgiven for looking at 2022 and wondering what other terribleness Baby New Year is hiding under his shiny hat. We don’t trust that baby.
But we’re optimists here at Who Knows Where That Might Lead, even in a tentative, “I’m optimistic that lizard with the blow torch seems kinda nice” way. Today is the first day of the last month of 2021. This is the last chance for this year to be something good, something hopeful, or at least something not terminally dismal. What if we looked to what we can do in the next 31 days to salvage something positive, if not from the whole year, at least from December? What if we do something nice for someone else without expecting payback? Asked someone about their day and really listened? Did something good for ourselves without feeling guilty?
It’s been so long since you’ve seen the ocean. I guess you should.
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