Posted by: Jon | 31/12/2009

Last Rites for 2009

So once again we’ve come around to that time of year when we wring out the old and ring in the new. And I find I have little to say except that somehow this year’s endings feel more final than most and, in the aftermath of COP15 in Copenhagen, our hopes and expectations for the future seem much diminished.

When I was young and living in wild places and all of life stretched before me, I used to sleep out in the open on New Year’s Eve. I liked the romantic symbolism of crossing the threshold between tired endings and new beginnings and waking up close to nature to greet the new dawn.

If the weather was bad – as once in a snow hole on the slopes of Bowfell or struggling down from Stickle Tarn in a tempest in the small hours – the experience became a long night’s atonement. Like keeping vigil in a sacred place before setting out on a new quest or crusade. And, if the weather was kind, to wake to the quiet and watchful gaze of roe-deer in a frozen Narnian forest or to witness sunrise kiss the summits of Merrick and Benyellary felt like a benediction.

Now I’m older and more cynical and the topsy-turvey world goes by so fast, I don’t do that anymore. I think I’ve maybe found a different way to atone for my lifetime’s complicity in consumer psychosis, squandered resources and profligate waste. So I’ll leave last words for tired endings to those veterans of environmental wars,  Franny Armstrong, Mark Lynas and Tony Juniper.  And then I promise I won’t be coming back again to all the messes we made in our lives…. 

What was that they said? Suicide pact? Well, next stop on this roller-coaster is COP16 in Mexico City. But more likely we’re all “going to Acapulco”. Which seems a shame because, like Alias, I’ve “grown partial to this place – the sudden smell of fear and the thrill of waiting up for the end of the world”.

Happy New Year to one and all! Here’s to lost causes and new beginnings and the slender hope that we might yet acquit ourselves well….


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