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Taking note: A hopeful season

The winds are howling. A fresh new blanket of snow has transformed the world overnight. This seems to be a picture-perfect restoration of winter weather after the previous day’s unusual warmth transformed the area’s lawns from a crisp white to a soggy green.

It’s seemingly ideal weather to occur as I write this on Christmas Eve.

And it’s a day that always seems to come and go so quickly.

Whether it’s spent wrapping up the week’s work, finalizing meals or gifts, enjoying time with loved ones, or likely, some combination of the three, it’s always a day that flies by.

But I know that by the time you read this, all of that last-minute preparation will be behind us.

The holidays can sometimes come and go so quickly that it can feel like a bit of a shock to wake up in late December and realize that most of the holidays, most of the days this year, have passed us by.

And that a long winter lies ahead.

Sometimes, this can feel a little gloomy and austere after the rush of holiday cheer.

But the long winter and new year can offer us a valuable period for rest, rejuvenation and restoration.

And as we wait throughout the long winter for the sun to return, to melt the snow and nourish living things, we can try to remember the value of turning inward this season.

We can try to honor the natural desire of all living things to retreat, rest, reflect during these cold dark months.

And it’s not easy when many of us have done a sort of yearlong hibernation through many months and seasons of the pandemic.

But it’s worth respecting the natural urge this season to curl up and rest, to be gentle to yourself and others, to make warmth where there is cold, to burrow deeply within.

In these long winters, we might find ourselves reading more, cooking more, creating more, getting more sleep, finding a new hobby, starting a healthy new routine, or spending more quality time with our loved ones.

But no matter what we do during these long winters, it’s an opportunity to recharge and renew ourselves for the brighter days that await us.

We can rest enough to restore our energy, our hope for spring.

And this year, it feels that we need that rest, rejuvenation and restoration of hope more than ever.

This has been a year none of us could have imagined at this point last year.

We’ve miraculously adapted to unusual, uncertain and occasionally downright awful circumstances over the past nine months.

Many people have responded to this challenging year with kindness and strength.

Many of us have surprised ourselves, and others, with what we have been able to overcome and endure this year.

But we all have carried so many burdens for so long at this point in the year.

We can get so used to carrying these burdens that we forget what it is like to be without them.

But rest, relief and hope could be on the horizon with the dawn of this coming new year.

These days seem to herald the return of an old, near-forgotten kind of hope that has been much harder to have in recent months.

It’s the type of hope that you can physically feel in your chest.

It’s the type of hope that gives you the courage to be better, to love more, to hold on.

It’s the type of hope that is so simple and beautiful that you can barely put it into words.

I’ve been feeling these gleams of hope more and more these days, these glimmers of a new and better future that could await us.

A future that offers hope and possibility.

A future that is full of compassion and love.

A future that may not be perfect, but is kinder than the past and present have been.

But we need to be patient.

We need to rest, recover and regain hope and strength during these long, dark months if we want to welcome it properly.

It may always feel darkest just before dawn.

But soon, that beautiful sliver of light will edge above the horizon.

And we can hope to find restoration, rejuvenation and recovery in the darkness as we wait.

Because better days just might be on their way.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cecilia Brown is city editor at The Mining Journal. She lives in Marquette and can be found hiking if the weather’s nice, or curled up with a book if not. Contact her at cbrown@miningjournal.net.

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