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COLUMNS

Now is the winter of our discontent

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

I borrow the title from Shakespeare’s play, Richard III because for me and I suspect for many it has been the winter of our discontent because so far, 2021 seems little different than 2020.

January comes after the bright days and merriment of Christmas, a time when life shifts back from the sublime to the ordinary. The skies are often gray, temperatures are cold and there’s often precipitation. Remember that both “cold” and “snow” are both four letter words.

The transition back into the routines we know all too well are seldom easy ones. This year, many factors make January a difficult time with many challenges.

Rather than receding, cases of the COVID-19 virus have continued to be on the rise across the nation. Even more dire is the fact that researchers have also identified several new strains of the disease even as the first efforts at vaccination got underway.

No matter what your political persuasion may be, the events that unfolded at the United States Capitol earlier this month are heinous and without precedent.

The familiar Capitol building is more than just a place where Congress meets – it’s a hallowed hall representing our nation’s history. President George Washington himself laid the cornerstone in 1793. It was attacked by British forces during the War of 1812 and has undergone multiple changes to grow as the nation grew.

It stands as a landmark in Washington DC. When I exited Union Station after arriving from New York City by train a few years ago, the Capitol was visible through the trees. I had visited it earlier on another visit and afterward, my son and a group of Air Force Junior ROTC cadets did the same. I have a photo of my son and his group that was taken on the steps of the Capitol.

Without getting political, a daunting task, it’s my thought that none of the events that unfolded there should have happen. No one should have died, destroyed papers, stolen property, or defecated in those marble

halls. Such events have prompted a serious backlash, and no one knows what may happen next.

As a nation and as individuals, we are weary of dissention. We’re tired of social distancing and wearing a mask. Concerns that a new shutdown may be looming don’t rest easy on our hearts.

But, because I love my neighbor and value my life, I am prudent. I wear a mask each time I leave the house. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant just once since last March. I practice social distancing at church and on the rare occasions I set foot into a physical store.

On this cold January day, the outlook seems as bleak and dreary as the view outside my window, but I look forward to the time when life returns to a more normal pace, when friends and I can meet in person once again.

I’ll close with the full line from Shakespeare: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York” and hope that summer will indeed be a glorious season.

-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a former newspaper editor, reporter, and broadcast journalist. She is an author and freelance writer.