The feel here in Starbucks, inside the pre-new year bubble, is slightly strained. It’s like the cable on a winch anticipating one more tooth of tightening.
Even though the thing is on a rotary, I sense no one here quiet believes the coming click-over of a New Year. Least of all the pony-tailed hippy by the window, with the Dog River Clothing Co. hoodie. My assumption of course, but he’s here every morning pouring over the same old daily news–and I speculate, like me, he wonders why the passage of time changes nothing expect the cosmetic.
And that’s the shame of it. A "new" year, where nothing is new.
Perhaps if we hominids could at least undergo and annual molt, we’d have a chance at growing a new skin; and with that, who knows, perhaps some deeper beneficial mutation might occur.
Yesterday I spent a part of the day reading news feeds from Al Jazeera about the latest round of reciprocal violence. I zeroed in on an article on the history of Gaza, The Untold Story. The saddest part was reading the attached comments from people around the globe. All of it yobbish one-upmanship. Mirrored invective.
The hippy fetches his keys and remotely starts his car; in a moment he’s gone into the morning darkness. There was a time when we hippies dropped out. How quaint that now appears. Still, I sense my own shaky constitution plotting methods of ducking out–without, of course, appearing irresponsible.
I think about Zechariah’s prayer after the birth of his hippy-son John the Baptizer.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
I wonder at the seeming impossibility.
At the table in front of me is a man who by all appearances spent part of the night outside. I inquire if he needs anything. How about a coffee, I ask? He says he’s fine…a bit shaky but fine.