2019: We rise
Way back when I was a listless teenager clicking through TV channels on a weekend, I saw one of those ten minute digital shorts YTV had on, to showcase the graphics projects students had submitted to them. It was all glorious technicolour computer animation, and still fresh in my mind. The story shown was a fish looking up wistfully at the interface of the water, up at the birds soaring overhead. Eventually a bird comes along and tries to connect with the fish, and their relationship is challenging as neither can exist in the other’s environment.
As an immigrant kid, I often felt like that fish, forever wistfully looking outside, wondering how I’d ever get to feel that kind of freedom in a culture that didn’t appear to have an environment I knew how to exist in.
Years later, after I’ve moved to a place of much more belonging than I felt back then, the wistful digitally rendered fish is still in my thoughts, but there is more to the story left unexplored.
I started thinking today about tetrapods, those primordial fish that decided to leave the water, and crawl up to the land. Can you imagine how scared they must have been, leaving behind everything they were functionally built for, to crawl out onto land and decide to make a home on the surface, where they could barely figure out how to breathe? And can you imagine the promising possibilities that lay ahead of them after they finished that horrendous first climb out of the mud and into the air?
That’s how I feel about 2019. We’ve all done a lot of crawling out of muddy estuaries, and now we’re getting up on shore and starting to breathe. The world is not perfect behind us or in front of us. We’re getting stronger though, and rising up to imagine and then build and become something better. One day we will soar. Rising up out of the mud is the first step.