Another year has passed. What a strange and beautiful custom we have of shooting colourful rockets into the sky in celebration of an end meeting a beginning. As I sat outside watching the fireworks this year… mostly I just sat and watched and was. But in-between bouts of pyrotechnical delight, I had a few moments of contemplation and in those moments, when all I could hear were distant explosions and all I could see was smoke in the sky, all I could think was “This sounds like war.”
This is perhaps a strange thought to have, but maybe not so much. After all, fireworks are explosions, they are projectiles of sorts. and war is what we hear about all the time. I am extremely fortunate to live in a place that has not really seen war since WWII, but war is a real issue in many parts of the world. It’s very present in all of our minds, even if we are not aware of it. And then I started thinking how amazing that is and how fundamentally human it is. Not that war is always on our minds,but that we are capable of such awful things as war and yet we still retain the ability to make beautiful things, to be joyful and to share that with everyone.
There was a young couple on the street next to me, watching the fireworks and they were speaking to each other in their own language, unaware that I could understand it. And the girl was delighted by the fireworks. She smiled and pointed and clapped and her boyfriend was teasing her “You’re like a little child!” he told her at one point. And that got me thinking about joy, about delight and about how we associate those things with children. And that is so sad, I think, because it means that as adults, we stop letting ourselves be amazed and delighted and simply find joy in the simple things.
I think this is so much at the heart of our problems. I think if we could all find it within ourselves to just be amazed by life, by the world, by simple things – because the world is amazing, there are so may things that should fill us with delight, if only we took the time to appreciate them. If only we stepped away from this self-imposed “adult” mind-frame and just be like little children. I think our problems would be solved. I think then, upon hearing explosions, our first thought would be not war, but fireworks.
Happy New Year!