Through the door under the stoop and over the step into 2021.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

Little Gidding (canto 2 stanza 4) T. S. Eliot

We might feel chased by a howling spector of 2020, as we step into 2021 everything that we so longed to leave behind seems determined to follow us; restrictions, distance from loved ones, lockdowns and death. 2020 was a year like no other, I have lived through, where the echoes of rejoicing at its end are all too genuine. And a real longing for a new year to be a new start is ringing out in every cry of Happy New Year. And I can’t help being drawn back to T.S. Eliot and Little Gidding. Where he grapples with endings and beginnings, with the cold bleak landscape of England in mid-winter.

Eliot takes us from our desire to end something and start a new, and he takes in a mystical circle right back to our beginning, but a beginning that is new and filled with new understanding of life and love.

What we call the beginning is often the end And to make and end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. . . .

. . .

A people without history Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel History is now and England.

We lived and laughed through 2020, people were married babies were born, music was played, and each moment was important in the pattern we are all apart of. ‘Last years words belong to last years language’ and so too with all art. Last years paint from last years brush strokes tell last years story in last years language. As we make a start to discover this year’s language, we take a little of last year with us. To make sense of where we are going, we must use what we understand of where we have been. We speak this old language until it begins to morph into the new. If we are truly blessed, we will find that place that Eliot describes in the last stanzas of this poem.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always-- A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flames are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one.

No matter what we face 'all shall be well and / all manner of things shall be well' . So as we start exploring 2021 lets do it with courage, lets look for the beauty, lets embrace the moments we are given and find the language of 2021.

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