In this part of Northern Europe, midwinter skies are often bright and clear. The low sun floods in like stage light, giving new shape to familiar land. It’s a precious reminder when the nights are so long, seeming to light the way forward. As the saying goes, if you look towards the light, the shadows will fall behind you.
It can seem facile to speak of peace in these troubled days, but hope remains humanity’s best response to danger because, as Rebecca Solnit says ‘Hope locates itself in the premise that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.’ (Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, Canongate Books)
The final chapter of A Restless Art (where these words also appear) is called ‘Hope in Uncertainty’ because that’s what community art needs and offers. After all these years, my confidence in its value is undiminished because I meet so many ordinary people whose extraordinary courage, creativity and generosity make life better. Regular Marvels.
A Texas politician once said that ‘a jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.’ That’s true, but there are many more carpenters in the world, many more. Let’s make it a happy new year.