Well, the last night of 2016 was as fitful as the previous 54 nights. It's been hard to come by a good night's sleep since You-Know-Who rose to power. But as Amy and I crawled into bed just before the stroke of 11, I thought last night might be a contender. We'd had an indulgent night in — curled up on the couch with a bowl of caramel popcorn in hand, Beginners on Netflix, and the house to ourselves.
Then came the fireworks. Not the official ones that likely went off at midnight, somewhere over the Bay and unbeknownst to us. No, these were the amateur pyrotechnics set off by our neighbors, which in turn set off the dog and cut short what had been a promising slumber. Around 3:30 or so, the dog stopped panting and started pacing. "I think he needs to pee," murmured Amy in a noncommittal kind of way.
And that's how I found myself staring at a magnificent sky in the wee hours of 2017. As the dog trotted around the backyard, I looked up to find a quality of light that I couldn't quite place. It wasn't exactly moonlight — at least I didn't see any moon — but it wasn't receding darkness nor emerging daylight either. It was just a cool, electric blue-black sky, punctuated by a handful of stars, with a conveyer belt of white clouds moving slowly underneath it. My mourning about the lost night swiftly dissipated in the perfection of this small, simple, pure moment of awe. I could feel a sense of hope and connection. A sense of peace and of place.
I suspect such moments will be important in the days ahead — to remain wide-eyed even while clear-eyed, to find awe despite the awful.