BAGUIO

Fernando: The year ends

Paradigm

THE December wind is right on our faces. This is the same blow of wind last year and for the past years but for many and most of us, the time does not give us the opportunity to relish this unsympathetic breath of air. The cold temperature also reminds us of Christmas and how it is celebrated in this part of the world, but again, for many and most of us, it is the ending of the year that is being anticipated the most, not the grandeur of this month.

The end of the year means the vaccine for the Covid-19 is approaching. Reports say the vaccine might be available in the country in the middle of next year. That is still a long wait but the end of the year is a good sign that it is coming. For the experts, the availability of the vaccine could bring us, somehow, to a situation like the old normal. The old normal will never come back I believe but the vaccine will make it a little like it.

There is a difference between the idea that the year is ending and the idea of December. December is usually about merriment-celebrating the holidays, thanksgiving for another year given to us, and enjoying a family time permitted by the Holiday break. But something is off this time. The "great test" of the year is taking its toll on us, or just on me, that I could not grasp the shared meaning of December.

I work in the academe, and at this time of the year, the work is beginning to be less and less academic. Surely, there are those cramming and rushing to finish their requirements but it is because the days ahead are filled with events related to Christmas. Excitement is in the air caused by the anticipation of parties and merriments. Conversations along the corridors are more about the holidays, Christmas events, and plans for the coming vacation. Odd and different now. As I write this line, I even need to google the term "Christmas party" to recall the various celebrations in different offices, groups, and organizations.

There is a feeling that this is not December at all. This may be the time where the term December and the end of the year are incongruous. I think because fear, doubts, and uncertainty are shadowing the usual joy and hope we feel at this time of the year. The pandemic has surely changed not only the course of history, it breaks a system of our emotional cycle too. Even the songs of the holidays seemed out of place this time. December is supposed to be a time when one can sit down and plan on the holidays. Everything would feel light and gay. Work is done and it is time to chill and celebrate. But this feeling would not come this time. Think about those who have lost their jobs, those who have lost their loved ones, and those who are displaced. Think of the situation where we cannot celebrate in groups because of fear of the virus.

The past 11 months is certainly significant but in chilly and scary ways. It taught us lessons by bringing memories we fear to recollect. I am not sure how many are eager to look back at these flashbacks. Of course, some of us had good times to remember but I would not associate good times with this year. Many or most of us, had hoped for the ending of this year because it is surely a dark year, a black hole in the post-modern years.

Hope has come as the year ends. I would not know how to put it but it sure put us nearer to the perceived solution of all this mess, the vaccine. I have my lessons to ponder and I am sure you have yours too. December may have a different meaning this time but it all gives us one teaching, things will surely pass. Shakespeare said it so. There is always hope and the December wind may be whispering about it too.


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