“I’ll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time,” (Emily Dickinson)
We miss Rikki Fulton. If he was still around, on Hogmanay the Rev Jolly would be be saying: “What kind of year have you had? I’ve had a hell of a year.” It was wonderful the way Late Call platitudes would collapse into total chaos, and our laughter was cathartic, helping us to get the whole thing back into proportion. Then there was that other Hogmanay word from time gone: “We’re no deid yet!” Aye. So here’s some things to hope both hope and work for. The Nuclear Ban Treaty going all official on the 22nd January; as we build to Cop 26 here in November, the opening for engaging everyone in the climate crisis: as Scottish independence comes ever more sharply into focus, the chance to hold tight to that vision of a better nation. ‘A Better Nation’ aye sounds like we need it improved, but there’s plenty not to change; the very notion of us all as Jock Tamson’s bairns, the baby box, first footing, haggis pakora and fiddle tunes are high on my list. And we need to change what’s foisted on us: land reform is up there for me, along with dismantling Fortress Scotland and getting nuclear weapons not just out of the Clyde but out of the world. But in the long dark nights as we take a wee bit of time off, maybe there’s a chance to face up to the stuff that needs us to change. There’s the messy and pervasive poison that seeps out of the auld firm that has nothing to do with sport, there’s the bairns that fear ridicule where a cuddle should be, and we’re quick to start a stair heid rammy instead of sharing common courtesy . A resolution for Ne’er day might be to make a list of things we can do in this nation, just so we’re ready for the better one. And, oh, a bit slice of that better nation will be a grace between a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns as we listen with respect to each other even in the midst of vital arguments. We can go with all that.