Farewell to 2020
22nd December 2020
By Kate Scholl
Farewell to 2020
Very shortly we say farewell to 2020 with its range of personal experiences and world events. I share with you a few thoughts and questions that have been part of conversations about the year I have been hearing.
What shocked you most this year? What stands out from the year?
For me, the image of crowds of people on the waters’ edge on NSW south coast with the fires so close stays with me. A couple of months later, one of my first memories representing what lay ahead of us was hearing that the Easter Show in Sydney was cancelled. At first I couldn’t believe it. ‘This is not possible!’ I thought. But it was possible and it was just the beginning of so many shocks to come.
In NSW, people reviewing 2020 say something like, “first it was the fires and then the floods and then the pandemic and lock downs, border closures and travel bans.”
This time last year Sydney and many other parts of Australia were filled with smoke and extremely hot and dry, there were numerous fires burning out of control across the country. Between November and January we witnessed evacuations, firestorms causing incredible damage and people’s lives completely upended. We watched as fire fighters worked so hard to fight the flames and protect people and property and people staring in disbelief as the fires raged around them. We saw people reach out to help, communities pulling together and Australians responding with generous donations.
Then the rains came to much of NSW and Victoria finally ending the fires, but causing floods and severe storm damage. People in regional areas reported green paddocks and crops growing, rain tanks filling up again. A record wheat crop this year, they say.
When I speak to individuals about their experience during the early months of the pandemic, I hear people say they enjoyed the slower pace of life during lockdown, working from home, less traffic on the roads (and in the skies) and less crowds on public transport. People on talkback radio speak about finishing projects undone for years, learning to cook or bake, and gaining a huge appreciation of the work teachers do. I hear people speak about how post lockdown, having dinner in a restaurant or getting together with friends in person was such a treat. The joy of being able to travel more than a few kilometers from home and for Victorians, being able to be outside without a mask were valued experiences!
What is it like to reflect on all of this as 2020 comes to an end?
Even as I write, images appear in my mind’s eye, such as people who were unable to leave their homes doing exercises on their balconies in Europe. I remember scenes of applause each night for health care workers, pictures of make- shift morgues in New York City and stories of people in India walking hundreds of kilometers to return home.
The explosion of online choirs and the technical capacity to bring all those voices together was inspiring. Here’s one of my favourites.
What images come for you?
What activities or opportunities have you come to appreciate through this year?
What losses might you need to acknowledge?
What have you come ot know about yourself or others and what is most important?
There is much to contemplate and many conversations yet to come about what we learned and how life changed for us in 2020. We welcome your thoughts.
Send me a paragraph or two about your experience or a story from your 2020 and I will weave the contributions together for a future edition of this newsletter. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 January.
You may also like to consider attending our Bundeena Retreat on 13th February where we will explore these questions and share our insights and learnings from 2020.