2019… Que sera sera …
A new birth, my new granddaughter, is a poignant and happy way to end the year. New life. It seems like a miracle really. One minute she doesn’t exist, the next minute she does. Birth and death and the cycles of life are both ordinary and everyday and yet ultimately extraordinary.
We grandparents can get a hard time from those who don’t have family or as yet don’t have grandchildren. But there is a kind of secret smile that passes from one grandparent to another, even when you don’t know one another. You see a grandfather walking with a toddler in Kew Gardens, catch his eye and you both smile, knowing how precious these moments are.
I think because one is older a new young life, bewildered, vulnerable, in wonder and far from understanding (any more than we do!) the complexities of the world they have entered, is potent. The innocence, the wide-eyed approach to the rituals of the year, whether it is Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes or Father Christmas is magical.
And as one ages one tends to recognise that family, friends and community are so important when the world outside is in such chaos. Moving to Kew has brought us into a delightful and inspiring community where almost everyone we meet is volunteering in one way or another, as David and I intend to do now that the house is finished (hurrah!). We couldn’t be happier in our choice of move and in the people who surround us, and the numerous interesting activities on our doorstep with theatre, film, galleries, talks, the river and, of course, the wonderful Botanical Gardens where we walk almost every day.
Small things make a difference when we can’t seem to influence what our politicians are doing. But who can predict the long view of history? I have been listening to Roller-coaster, Europe 1950-2017 by Ian Kershaw and am reminded of the huge changes that have occurred in my lifetime both in how we live and also in political regimes. The horrors of Hitler and Stalin exposed the dangers of ideologies, and religion continues to divide rather than bring peace to the world. Living in Communist Poland one might not have been able to predict the freedom they have now. So how can we possibly predict the future?