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Taking note: Dreaming big

The final days of 2020 seemed to dwindle quickly. But the last little bit of the year offered up a few incredibly bright winter days. Sunshine had returned, sparkling upon the all-encompassing blanket of pure white snow.

It was a powerful sun, bold and bright, against a pure blue backdrop of sky.

The sunshine was a relief amid winter’s near-constant heavy gray skies, the daytime hours barely distinguishable from all those long inky nights.

It had been days since the sun had been visible behind that wall of gray clouds, at best a hazy sphere floating low above the horizon.

But this sun was no hazy sphere.

It was vibrant, unobstructed.

And at this time of year, a day of pure sunshine is always welcome.

Even if it’s a cold sun, accompanied by single-digit temperatures and double-digit wind speeds, it seems to refresh the landscape and remind us that there is something other than darkness.

This cold sun’s light isn’t enough to melt the snow or ice, but it is enough to cast a sparkle over all the frozen white expanse.

This cold sun’s light isn’t enough to warm the air, but it;s enough to remind me that brighter, warmer days lie ahead.

And this is a welcome reminder as we say goodbye to 2020 and celebrate the arrival of 2021.

Many of 2020’s days were cold and challenging, literally and metaphorically.

And the arrival of 2021 won’t immediately change the situation, but there seems to be some light on the horizon, a few beacons of hope that can make the world sparkle anew.

While there’s no dramatic, sudden shift on a physical level that occurs at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, the symbolism, tradition and metaphor wrapped up in a new year can encourage us to let go of the old, to welcome the new.

And we need that more than ever at this point, particularly when we reflect upon the plans and resolutions we made for 2020 at this time last year.

Many of those dreams were put on hold, to say the very least.

And after what we’ve experienced this year, we might sometimes find ourselves hesitant to dream and plan for much in this new year.

But I find myself filled with hope for 2021.

Hope for hugging my loved ones without fearing for their safety.

Hope for long drives and waterfall hikes with my parents.

Hope for safely enjoying family meals and gatherings.

Hope for the return of in-person events of all kinds.

Hope for travel and adventure.

Hope for so many simple, beautiful things that I never thought I’d have to miss.

My hopes for 2021 might seem small, but they feel monumental.

Just the thought of these hoped-for activities becoming a possibility fills me with joy.

And I don’t know exactly when, how or if these wishes for 2021 might come true. But I know they’re worth hoping for.

Because hope, that beacon of light, is what will get me through the dark days leading up to better times.

Simply allowing ourselves to hope for beautiful things, big and small, can sometimes make all the difference when things feel hopeless.

But sometimes, it can be hard to dare to dream of these beautiful things.

However, as we welcome this new year, I think it’s time to allow ourselves to take that risk, that leap of faith.

We can dream of better days.

We can hope for restoration and renewal.

It can be challenging, but we need hopes and dreams more than ever.

And I think part of that journey back to hoping and dreaming is being gentle with ourselves and others.

Part of that journey is offering ourselves — and others — kindness and forgiveness for the hopes, plans and dreams that didn’t quite work out in 2020.

And another part of that journey back to hope is offering ourselves — and others — empathy and understanding when we reflect upon the unfortunate events of 2020.

Because if we are brave enough to heal, to forgive, to let go, we can plant the seeds for new hopes and dreams.

And with the proper nurturing, those hopes and dreams just might blossom in this new year.

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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