The Missing Year

 In Reflections

The Missing Year
by Julie Bowman

a reflection on 2020

Missing community, we gathered through Zoom and waved to neighbors.
Missing intimate connections, we luxuriated in long phone calls with dear friends.
Missing a decent night’s sleep, we napped.


When fear rose within us and around us, we chose compassion for self and others.
When white supremacy soared, we examined our own hearts for racism.
When wildfires and hurricanes roared, we vowed to better serve our planet.


Missing civil discourse, we initiated authentic conversations.
Missing democracy with a conscience, we voted.
Missing restaurants, we cooked.


When the news was too disturbing, we balanced it with birdsong.
When depression threatened, we sought out the laughter of children.
When COVID deaths entered our circles, we grieved deeply:
We attended livestreamed funerals.
We let our tears flow without restraint.
We felt our hearts break over and over.


Missing spontaneity, we became intentional and discerning.
Missing predictability, we made a truce with the unknown.
Missing smiles hidden by masks, we practiced “friendly eyes.”


When resistance surfaced, we concentrated on acceptance.
When sadness beckoned, we honored it, then gently cultivated joy.
When restlessness stirred, we got creative:
We sang and danced (and uploaded to YouTube).
We embraced poetry, painting, photography.
We pulled out our sewing baskets and our garden tools.


Missing our sense of time, we tuned into the rhythms of the Earth:
We tracked the phases of the moon.
We noted the migrations of birds and butterflies.
We watched Orion move into the night sky.


Missing our sense of security, we leaned into mystery.
Missing our sense of self, we focused on being present to others.
And found the ground of our being.


Image Credit: Lucy Campbell

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