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Author: Margaret Walker
Year: Future

'Happy New Year!'

'Happy New Decade!'

We clinked glasses and laughed, swaying to the sounds of Jools’ Annual Hootenanny, singing along merrily to 'Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think.'

What does it mean, the future?

A promise, perhaps, like a golden sunrise on the far horizon. Today, when it comes, will be good. Or: maybe not. Maybe it is more like a warning. Beware, mankind, you have messed up. Pollution, mass extinctions, global warming – a future to be viewed with dread.

Did dinosaurs consider the future? Did they make plans as they ate and roared and fought?

The dictionary defines the word 'future' as 'the time which lies ahead, events yet to occur.'
But, really, 'future' is 'now'.
It is my half-finished mess of a new bathroom upstairs.
It is my daughter’s trip-of-a-lifetime to Cuba cancelled.
It is my cheerful, friendly ballet class reduced to an online hour alone using the back of a dining-room chair as the barre.
It is the loss of my piano lessons due to social distancing. No more 'student concerts', always with a surprise pupil suddenly playing some beautiful or exciting new piece on the piano. Once, even, that was me.
It is worry, loss, fear; not just for self, family and friends but for whole communities.

The hope is that these things will pass, that the future can and will be better.
Mankind needs to learn how to listen, co-operate and work together.
What are the chances?