A month ago I thought I saw someone dear to me. She was walking near Matilda’s Corner, perhaps heading to New Leaf vegetarian restaurant. Her long blue and purple skirt swayed gently with her gait. Her tote bag was positioned securely on her shoulder and her short hair looked as curly as ever. I approached her with my finger on the automatic window button of my vehicle. Then I swerved a bit, pulled my hand back and adjusted my eyes as I struggled to make sense of who I was really seeing in my rearview mirror.
That day, as I drove between Old Hope Road and Hope Road, I saw the vivid memory of someone who was dear to me. I saw not a ghost, not a hallucination, and not my departed Auntie, but someone else’s aunt who became my own bereaved fantasy. I guess it’s true what they say, “gone but not forgotten.” I remember shaking my head as I drove away wondering how I could have mistaken this woman and mistaken the past for the present. And until then, I hadn’t considered that rearview mirrors give us the simultaneous experience of being able to look back while still moving forward.
As we all move closer and closer to 2020, a year of perfect vision, I think of my Auntie who passed away at the end of October and I think of the woman who walked between roads of hope one day in November. I think of this because in our work-centered modern lives, we put much more import on the shift from hour to hour and from year to year, such that we no longer see time as a progression of convergence. But for thousands of years, night was not a light switch in a bright room. Night was and still is a gradual darkening of the sky with a beautiful palette of dusk and a fleeting whisper of twilight to precede it. And when a new day breaks, it’s not when 11:59 p.m. ticks over to 12 o’clock. Morning is a misty ball of white that stretches itself warm on the horizon until the darkness surrenders and yields to a pale yellow. So too is the sunset on a life or a year.
As night invades this day, I say a long goodbye, of sorts, to 2019 and I think of what I hope to see in 2020. I think of what will become clearer with time and closed distance. I think of how satisfaction will be my family’s guide, how joy will assert itself in our lives, and how my own dreams will manifest in the year to come. And I think of what learned lessons I should always bring with me.
In a way, we are all moving between old hope and new hope. New Year’s resolutions are promises that we make so that we can be better than we were in the past.
As I think about what the future will bring, may I never lose vision of the past, and may I always keep my sights on hope. Cheers to 2020 and the convergence of time!