Last year on this date, I and other LSU fans had just gathered in downtown Atlanta for the Tigers' Peach Bowl victory over Oklahoma en route to a national championship.
The huge crowds at CNN Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium mashed together as vague reports arrived about a virus in China. In a few months, the newly identified Covid-19 halted such massive gatherings.
A tumultuous year comes to a close with political discord, mourning and despair over the pandemic's resurgence, and glimmerings of hope and joy.
Sports have fitfully carried on. Movie theaters try to hang on, but streaming now dominates. Restaurants and bars barely survive. Billionaires enriched themselves further as millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes. The pandemic's death toll soars as hospitals end the year again overwhelmed with Covid patients. Hunger spreads, as Mitch McConnell kills a plan to give distressed families $2000.
A new administration gives hope that America can at last take action on long-ignored problems. The arrival of vaccines raises optimism that the pandemic will at last end. Children will return to school. Restaurant tables will ring with laughter. Fans will fill stadiums. Broadway will sing again.
The new year's arrival recalls the old verse from Ecclesiastes.
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
May be new year be a time to love, and a time of peace.