To the Fierce Large Multitudes' Second Coming
While I don't doubt that Y2K20 has a disconcerting number of disappointments left to wing our way, I am starting to see a brighter and brighter pinpoint of light coming into focus at the end of the tunnel.
[I am thankful for the dot of light.]
Often that tunnel feels long and lined with toads and snakes and other biblical pests -- the allegories for threats to our mortality and well-being. But the tunnel's length is finite, and the pinpoint of light at the far side gets a hair bigger, a shade brighter, with each day passing. Something akin to the lengthening days following the winter solstice, imperceptible and in seconds at first, then palpable, and then again luxuriously prolonged.
[I am thankful for the nearing solstice.]
And so we begin the holiday season. Knowing our limbo will not last. This American holiday -- itself rooted deeply in unsavory mythology -- may be spent in relative isolation from our loved ones, but we have our community.
[I am thankful for Zoom.]
Having slouched toward Bethlehem for hundreds of days, we now see that things did in many ways fall apart, but by and large the center held.
And 'what rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?' That, neighbors, is Y2K21. Because in 2021, we have a true crack at a second coming. I am not speaking of the second wave. That will have to be endured as there seems no political will at hand to fend back its tide. I am speaking of the transformative potential of our collective experience in Y2K20.
[I am thankful to 2020 for mirroring back to us that we are up to the task -- I saw what the collectivity can do. It is fierce, it is large, and it contains multitudes.]
The revelation that W.B. Yeats spoke of is at hand: we'll need to bring our fierce, large multitudes across the year's threshold.
So tuck into your savory meals. Fatten up for the trying weeks ahead. Be safe and be smart.
[And let the giving of thanks begin.]
All the best, to you, Bloomingdalers, for today, for tomorrow and for 2021 -- now knocking hard at the door.
Someone, please get up from the table and let it in: Its hour comes round at last.
The Second Coming
W.B. Yeats (1919)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?