Well. We made it to the eve of the New Year. So many hopes and wishes for the future seem to be created on this day. This year, it seems difficult to think of what we want to change in our lives, when what we really want is to get back to “normal.”
The COVID pandemic has robbed some of us of our health, of loved ones, of our freedom to roam the earth and find the closeness that we seek with others. But it has done something else. For many, it has given us tiny moments of gratitude in our lives where we may not otherwise have found a reason to be grateful. Children finding a way to connect with each other, even through masked smiles. A sunset that may not have been noticed before, while rushing from place to place. A small gathering with real conversation. For me, it is the sound of a chairlift spinning, bringing a huge sense of “normal” to my hectic life.
We have learned that we are stronger than we thought we were. We are resilient. We forge ahead, even when we feel that we are behind.
I do not know what the future holds or what path we will be walking in three, or six, or nine months. Instead of a resolution to do something, or change something, I will instead resolve to keep moving forward, whatever that means. While we do not know about the far-off future, we do know that when we wake up tomorrow morning, the world will not have changed. Masks will still be on faces, distancing will still be on our minds, and the health of ourselves and of those around us will take precedence. Things may feel the same, which can be disheartening. Things may seem the same, but they are not, because we are not the same. There is an undercurrent of change all around us, it hums through the electric lines and sparkles in the fallen snow. I can see it in people’s eyes even though I cannot read it on their lips.
Families are still together. Right now, out on the mountain. Laughter tickles my ears. There is no better sight than witnessing happiness.
Being in business in these times is so difficult. The weight of keeping people safe and healthy sits heavily on our shoulders, while trying to keep up with the ever-changing guidelines. There are times when I want to hang my head, and close our doors. But then, I hear the giggle of a child, or receive an email from a family, thanking us for remaining open, giving the hope of a normal day – or even a normal moment – to people. Those things lift us up and propel us forward.
My wish for all of us is that we learn to take those small moments and give them a greater significance in our lives. To take the little joys and celebrate them with gusto. To find some happiness, weather it’s in a fun winter activity like skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, or a relaxing day binge watching a favorite show. I have a sign in my office that reads, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
That is what I want. To find calm in this storm. To find peace in hard work. And above all else, to find moments of happiness, and hold on to them like the precious gift that they are. Happy New Year.
Amy Sampson-Cutler is a fiction writer who earned her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. She recently won second place in the WOW! Women on Writing Spring 2020 Flash Fiction Contest, and has been published twice in the Pitkin Review, as well as the Wellness Universe, Elephant Journal, and was a Community News Writer for the Times-Herald Record. She is the Executive Manager at Mount Peter Ski Area. She writes suspense, horror, and science fiction. She can be contacted through AmysHippieHut.com.