I know as well as anyone how hard it can be to get going this time of year, in the midst of February’s hard wind and weather. And this year, amid COVID, it can be even worse. But our forebears have been here before. Among the ancient Romans, from whom our modern calendar evolved, Neither January nor February existed—at first. Originally winter—the dead time of the agricultural cycle—was simply “out of time,” and that was that. Folks essentially hibernated. That is, they slept a lot, and gathered around ancient hearths for the sharing of stories, songs, and folklore. Eventually January, honoring the two-faced Janus (looking back to the year just past and forward to the one ahead) was added. Then February, named after the februra, fur-lined strips of animal hid that were used as part of the now all-but-forgotten Roman purification rites performed each year before the onset of March.
Even while we still cannot get together physically, we need one another and draw strength and inspiration in our shared purpose and resolve. It may be that we are now essentially half-way through this pandemic. The promise of vaccines has raised our hopes, while dangerous new strains speak of new perils ahead. For many the inauguration of a new Administration in Washington has buoyed Hopes as much as anything in the last four years. The voters’ rejection of intimidation and put-down is encouraging. The new President’s commitment to diversity, sustainability, science, legislative dialogue, restoring traditional alliances, cordiality across the aisle and regular press conferences are all good signs. And his Administration’s commitment to successfully bring the Coronavirus under control is the best sign I can imagine. Let those of us who pray, join me in praying for the success of President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’s budding efforts to turn the ship of state off its foundering course and back onto the safe and buoyant seas we all long to realize: our beautiful blue boat home. By summer, if we are lucky and if we’re graced, the cloud may be starting to life.
May blessings and hope abide!