Happy New Year from Castle Bluff! We are staying at a cabin in the woods where the mood outside is matching all my feels about the year we just finished.
I am happy to join in the collective sigh of relief that 2020 is officially over.
For the final month of 2020, I managed to cram in both my very favorite experience of the year (walking the Ouachita Trail) and my very worst moments (getting COVID and passing it around my family).
So that feels about par for the course for this very strange year.
I did read quite a lot this year, so I’m recording my favorite reads. And I’ve added a few other round-ups below, as is my custom at this time of year.
I am super grateful to the artists, writers, musicians and poets who made 2020 just a little bit brighter for me.
2020 Favorites: Books
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
The Water Dancer by Ta-nehisi Coates
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi
Eager to Love by Richard Rohr
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Evidence by Mary Oliver
Talking to Strangers Malcolm Gladwell
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem (re-read)
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (half-way through)
2020 Favorites: Songs
Resilient by Rising Appalachia (which they sing during this Tiny Desk concert). This song has been my “theme song” for 2020.
If I Ruled The World by MILCK Taido introduced me to this artist and I have listened to the whole album a lot this year, but I especially wore out this song.
Just Be by LVDY This song has been like a meditation. I use it in yoga all the time.
Like the rest of the world, I have had Taylor Swift’s folklore on repeat this year. And I’m equally loving evermore since its release. It’s hard to choose a favorite from each one but I think My Tears Ricochet is way up there for me.
We had sort of a sad Christmas. Taido and I both had COVID and the kids couldn’t come. So I don’t know if ‘Tis The Damn Season is really my favorite song off of evermore, or if it just matched my Christmas mood so much that it won the day. Either way, I’ve listened to it A LOT.
2020 Favorites: Movies
Except for maybe Soul, these aren’t necessarily the award-winning movies from this year. But I’ve watched them on repeat because they made me smile.
Blind Date (French: Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément)
We Are Family (French: C’est Quoi, Cette Famille)
2020 Favorites: TV
Most years, I don’t watch much TV, but this year was different. I think we watched more TV than we ever have before. And while I’m not really proud of that fact, I do feel like watching TV was a quarantine balm for us. Simon and I watched an episode of The Good Place together every day when he finished online school. And then we all watched an episode of something after dinner every night.
The Good Place
The Good Lord Bird
The Queen’s Gambit
2020 Favorites: Podcasts
2020 Favorites: Experiences
Hiking and being at Castle Bluff with my dad just before we realized how serious the pandemic was.
Having all three of my boys home with me for a short time during the first lockdown.
Doing a virtual walk with my friend Kandace during the time we were supposed to be walking the Way of St Francis. And listening to Richard Rohr talk about following St. Francis while I walked.
Camping and climbing mountains in Colorado with friends.
Being a part of a very small (and very special) family wedding in Colorado.
Meeting once a week for a couple of months on Zoom with a group of ladies to work through the practices from My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem.
Walking the Ouachita Trail.