The news in 2020 came hard at us and can be summed up in a single graphic: https://graphics.axios.com/2020-12-18-google-news-trends/fallbacks/2020-12-18-google-news-trends-fallback.png
I took this photo of the World Trade Center back in 1970 on my first-ever visit to New York.
COVID-19 has vividly reminded me of 9/11 all over again. But this time it has affected every human being on the planet. Rather than dwell on the awfulness, allow me to report on some of the better things that happened to Theresa and me this year.
Less than a year after our first meeting, Theresa and I found ourselves in various forms of self-quarantine, lockdown, social distancing, etc. This forced intimacy provided us with a perfect opportunity to get to better know each other, every single day.
Notwithstanding a yawning chasm between us in terms of background, daily living continues to be a wonderful learning experience for both of us. This January, as we celebrate the second anniversary of our first meeting, we are very grateful and so appreciative of each other. Theresa and I share similar feelings about family and also food tastes. She is masterful at whipping up a perfect meal, often with vegetables from our garden which she has nurtured with care and respect.
Cy, Hal and Jackie, and their families are all well and safe. I was lucky enough this year to see all of my kids, some more than once, and all the grandkids right here on the Vineyard. Theresa visited Minneapolis to see her family and as a bonus, her daughters Ashley and Lindsay came to us for a long weekend.
The big family news was that granddaughter Ashley was accepted, early decision, to study business at Northeastern University in Boston. It is an experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world. I can’t wait to see her more often and talk about the in’s and out’s of business.
Kevin, almost 15 is a delightful and highly intelligent student with great grades at his new high school and an easygoing and kind disposition. Having his baseball season severely curtailed did not help, but he is coping with grace and humor.
Jake, now 10 years old is a live wire, filled with curiosity and opinions. He is a terrific all-around student, with a passion for science, like his brother. Of course, this fills his grandfather with joy, having had a similar awakening to the subject at about the same age.
Cy has been unemployed and locked down since March. This pandemic has been tough on him. Cathy his caregiver has been marvelous in helping to keep up his spirit, as has Emmy, his camp counselor with whom he communicates every day. Cy visited the Vineyard three times, one of them to be with Emmy who flew in specially from California.
Given the restrictions this year, my restless soul began writing another book, this one based on my genealogical work undertaken on and off for twenty years. Having discovered some fascinating stories about some of my ancestors, I had a strong desire to put them in writing for the benefit of my children and grandchildren. I set out to write that history coupled with my own autobiography. The Kovno Legacy is now almost complete and I hope to send it to the printer later this year.
As I wrote, looking back year-by-year at my life, I kept finding a new self, re-inventing and adapting to new circumstances. This very deep dig was helpful in understanding the trajectory and outcomes of my life. Truth is there is no one “self”.
I also found great pleasure, this year, descending into numerous intriguing rabbit holes. For me, it is pure fun to explore metaphysics and subjects such as the nature of consciousness, neurobiology, ancient history, quantum reality, energy in all its forms, astrology, astronomy, etc. Theresa encouraged me and gifted me a subscription to the Gaia channel with its extraordinary catalog of alternative thought. And, of course, where would we be without Netflix and Prime Video?
Zach, our much loved golden retriever turned 12 in October. Although he’s quite markedly going deaf, and has breathing issues, he still has much energy and is always ready at 4.00 each day for a walk in the woods. But most of the day, he spends his time staying close by and keeping a watchful eye open over us.
We stand at a pivotal time in history, one that will be remembered for the health, economic, social, and political upheavals that will resonate well into the future. I am deeply offended by the suffering caused by maniacal and uncaring political leadership around the world. The upside of the world of disinformation that now envelopes us is that we must seek out and develop our own truths. We must sift our incoming newsfeeds through a critically fine filter to know what to believe and what not. And, that is a good thing!
I am hopeful that, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass”. Green shoots are beginning to appear. A renewed sense of community is developing as families talk to each other and find new ways to stay connected. The tired political class is fracturing. Millennials are fired up and scornful of the leadership and the lack of action on climate change and social justice. The saner politicians now have a once-in-lifetime opportunity to reform the American system to once again become a major example of reason and liberal democracy.
So, it is with a certain optimism that we send you our fond wishes for an auspicious, safe, and healthy 2021.
Alan, Theresa and Zach
PS: As I go to press with this issue, I am happy to tell you that Theresa and I have decided, come this coming September, to get married with a small family ceremony on the Vineyard. More information to follow ………..