Not Your Usual New Years Letter to Loved Ones -- IN HINDSIGHT

was personally, nationally and globally a shithsorm (that's "shitstorm," spelled differently so as not to offend anyone). We were visited by serial viruses and were sicker than really bad jokes from January to mid-May. Then we were behind on everything for months. David's old truck "Truckles" tried to commit suicide by popping his emergency brake (!) and driving himself across the road and down a ravine. He was repairable until the tow truck hauled him up the canyon, dragging one whole side of him through a tree. Truckles got his wish. And did the tow company make good? HA! Then there were wildfires here. David was sandwiched between two that came way too close even for his comfort while I beat it to friends' refuge for five days. Separation in the face of danger...There was even a quick flood! Felling dead trees, David's trustiest favorite little chainsaw got creamed by a 500 lb. piece of runaway firewood. On a much larger level we had a President who made the worst possible look better than that. People of color were killed for no good reason by the ones who were supposed to protect them. And there is a pandemic that is no joke at all, with an unmasked leader in denial who took a lot of people with him into his insanity of allsorts. People are dying, others grieving. There is fear, anger, loneliness, isolation and the fallout is horrendous. But then…….


. . . was also tender, instructional, clarifying, beautiful, unifying, catalytic. Forest beings sang us awake every day. People shopped for us when we were sick. People fed us. We got well. Our home and our connection were unharmed in the fire. Friends gave me shelter. David watered our evacuated neighbors’ gardens. Some wonderful strangers sold us their used pickup, now our “Frosty,” the nicest truck David has ever had, and they made it easy to do. No one got hurt in the process of felling gigantic sudden oak death trees on our land. It was a year for me of realizing the importance of what I put into the air we breathe, coming to know that outrage and anger, even for just causes, are not the food that children and old ones and all the ones in between need to thrive, to be strong enough to stand up and fight when it is needed. We need love, steadfast and stalwart leadership and stewardship, hope and positive action. Some of us made progress in understanding the prejudices we didn’t know we had. Many of us learned to appreciate the sustaining power of a hug, the connection of a simple handshake, the privilege of sitting next to a loved one, the human need for touch, the medicine of seeing faces we love on a computer screen when that is all that’s safe. People disinfected my shopping carts. People greeted me at the entrance to stores, counting ins and outs to make shopping safer. We learned to wait in line six feet apart. People wore masks. For the first time in my lifetime people all around the world were united by a disease that could kill and no one was immune. And we were all one.

Here we are in the human soup. Since the time of man, there have been killer diseases that no one knew how to cure, terrible despotic, insane leaders who harmed and neglected their people, generations of families who have known nothing but war, financial crashes that brought ruin, homelessness and unemployment. Last year was not the “worst ever year.” It was simply a year of the human condition and here we are. We are glad to be alive in the thick of life. And we are wishing you the same, all of it, the fullness of life for another year. May you be healthy, safe enough, whole and loved.


— Sashana Kane Proctor

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