Today is December 31st, 2020. It’s the end of the year, and it couldn’t come fast enough. 2020 vision is such a sad joke, it makes me really wonder if we, as a human race, have much hindsight after the debacle that has been this year. Things seemed to have started out okay, but then with the corona pandemic, the wheels came off. The temples closed down, the airports shut down, the pilgrims from overseas dwindled down to virtually nothing. It’s been a rough year for so many, and our hearts are truly broken for those who lost so much this year: loved ones, jobs, careers, house and home, passion for living, health, and inspiration.
It’s been a dark dark year, and it is hard to be philosophical about it, especially when you know and feel that so much damage to our world this way was avoidable, treatable, and could have been handled so much better. As a people we ought to feel no small amount of outrage at people who downplayed the pandemic, who pretended that it really wasn’t so bad, and that it would disappear like magic. A lot of people are gone now, who didn’t need to be, because of these genocidal acts of omission and the promotion of falsehood and outright lies.
We need to do better from now on. We need to really make education, reading, and the pursuit of intellectual expansion priorities for our communities and societies. Vaccines are not “theories”, it is medicine to prevent tragedy. Science is not a “worldview”. Science is real. We need to be a bit stronger to state these things directly and be less tolerant of ignorance and overly loud opinion as having “equal value of perspective”. It does not. We must not give it another inch. Our generosity towards stupidity has lethal consequences.
So, when you are venturing forth and making plans to make your way to Shikoku for a journey of a lifetime, please do take care of yourself. Get medical insurance before you come. This is a MUST HAVE item. Get the vaccinations you need. Cooperate with others until things get better. Social distance, wear your mask, do no harm. Be considerate. Wash your hands. Book your hotels and inns before you come. Plan your journey for next year (maybe…. fall???) meticulously. Leave less to chance. By all means, come to Shikoku and explore the splendor that awaits, and start the healing journey you may need, but use more than your heart to do so. Use your brain. Make a plan. Make a schedule. Be flexible with your expectations. Be kind and forgiving to yourself and to others.
Let’s do our part to make 2021 the year we come back from the brink of darkness. I’ll still be here cheering you on!