I sit on this New Year's Eve afternoon looking at the view through my window, one of quiet tranquility and rural Canadian beauty. Freshly fallen snow blankets the pine trees in the front yard and across the street. Chickadees flit through the branches, chirping their familiar song "Chicka-dee-dee-dee!", while the flash of a bright red cardinal causes my sleepy kitty Goku to perk up his ears before falling back to sleep on his window perch.
All is calm in the world for this one brief moment in time, it seems, and I imagine that my mood of tranquility and peace is universally and globally shared in this one magical and pure second with all the people in the world. If only that were so, I muse, that we could all feel this peace together as we look out at the view through our windows, wherever we may be.
Can you but dream of a moment when all was at peace? A moment when there was no human pain or suffering? When there were no wars, no killing, no hatred, and no one was hungry or cold, or lonely, or alone? A moment when all of humanity shared in a feeling of pure, simple, serenity? We know this is an impossibility, of course. It could never happen that there could be such a moment in time. Or could there?
As the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven draws to it's final dramatic moments, I say there could be such a moment, that it is here already. That moment is now. That moment is today. On the very last day of this unforgettable, momentous, life transforming year, 2011. Together we are united across this gorgeous glowing globe we live on as never before.
Am I alone today as I sit and look out upon my small view of the world? Or are you doing the very same in your little corner of the world? Maybe you live in an apartment building in Cairo like my friend Abdel does. Or perhaps, like Alla, you are in a home in the heart of Tripoli, and are looking back upon a year that changed your world forever. I know your country's struggle for freedom from the brutal rule of Gaddafi changed me, as did meeting you, and I am profoundly thankful for that incredible experience and opportunity. Never in a million years did I dream such a friendship would be possible, or that it would affect me so profoundly.
Perhaps like Alfredo, my friend in the Phillipines, you look out of your windows today and see the bustle of Olongapo City before you, and ponder upon those who perished in the floods in your country recently. Or maybe you live in New York City, like my dear friend Veronica, and are looking back upon a year where social injustices in your country inspired you to stand up and expose the corrupt 1% with your eloquence and passion.
Yoko in Japan will never forget this year, I know, as she welcomes in the new year maybe by drinking some saki and singing karaoke with friends, as she did after the devastating tsunami, her way of staying sane. Her view will be one of snow too, I imagine, in Japan's lyrical landscape.
I think of you all, and many others too numerous to mention, friends and acquaintances around the world, people I have shared moments of joy and sorrow, horror and outrage with, as we communicated across the ether in simultaneous moments of powerful connection.
Powerful connections are what this year has brought to the world, connections of mind and soul and spirit. The Arab Spring brought the youth of the world together, as West and East united in common goals for the betterment of mankind, for the end of tyrannies of all kinds, be they one man or many working to enslave and impoverish the masses.
From Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street, the world has become galvanized into action, united in a way never before seen on this planet, in a common desire for equality, for respect and for the right to a peaceful and dignified existence, regardless of race or religion.
The changes that this year 2011 has wrought have been at times frightening and overwhelming to witness. Tempests of every conceivable kind have bombarded mankind this year, and have been met with our trademark tenacity, strength, and determination to overcome obstacles.
With that has come a deeper, keener understanding of each other, and of the commonalities that bind us all together, across this beautiful, diverse and precious planet we call home.
On this eve of a new year, a new beginning, I hope that wherever you are, whatever the view through your window, you find a quiet moment to sit and enjoy, and to see the beauty that is your 'view through the window' upon the world with eyes of renewed wonderment.
Please know that I sit here and do the same, my dear friends around the world, and as I sip my sweet hot tea and watch the snowflakes softly fall, I wish for you all and for all of humanity, if not the ever-unattainable world peace, then at least just this one precious, peaceful moment in these last few moments of 2011. Peace be with us all.
Author's note: Please add a picture of your view through your window! Just click on 'images' to add your pic and share.
Link to the beginning of the story of my friendship with Alla in Tripoli: