Friday, January 1, 2016

Nativity: a catalog of glad tidings for Rochester

The miracle that saves the world, the realm of human affairs, from its normal, "natural" ruin is ultimately the fact of natality, in which the faculty of action is ontologically rooted. It is, in other words, the birth of new men and the new beginning, the action they are capable of by virtue of being born. Only the full experience of this capacity can bestow upon human affairs faith and hope.... It is this faith in and hope for the world that found perhaps its most glorious and most succinct expression in the few words with which the Gospels announced their "glad tidings": "A child has been born unto us." - Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Our planet’s axial tilt cycles our seasons bringing to each cycle a winter solstice. The Gregorian calendar measures out for us (for here and now at least) our civil days and dates. Both of these means of marking time mark this time of year and specifically this date as the beginning of a new year.

For all this season's holidays, with all their varied religious and spiritual sources, many find their origins in appropriated Neolithic celebrations of solar rebirth. From the cold ruin of deep winter, new hope rose on the horizon just where a redeemed sun was marked to appear. We continue to mark the passing year and reckon its passing by that natural horizon. We continue to look to other human horizons for signs of what each new born year might bring.

Of late we are given as a people to making lists. Here’s mine:

A personal catalog recognizing people, groups, places, etc. that for me register the new. Not just new last year, (though some are); or, new in the coming year (though some will be). While some entries on the list are indeed new to Rochester, others are creating something new, or bringing forth something new, or appearing to us in new ways.

Business enterprises that give voice to intentional strategies for positive social impact: 
Annie Henderson and Sean Allen, Forager Brewery/Kutzky Market; Adam Ferrari, 9.Square and Design Rochester; Patrick Seeb, DMC Economic Development Agency; Jamie Sundsbak, BioAM 
The new voice each brings to our public life: 
Nick Campion, Rochester City Council; Kolloh Nimley, Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage; Megan Johnston, Rochester Art Center
Connections amid the connectedness of our shared lives:
BioAM; The Commission; In the City for Good
Intentional spaces where ideas and the people who carry them around collide:
Forager Brewery/Kutzky Market; CafĂ© Steam 
Something new with the expressed intent of bringing forth new voices:
Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department comprehensive plan community engagement workshops; Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative; In the Shadow of Growth forums; TedX Zumbro River 
The place most sorely in need of new:
Rochester City Council 
Bringing to us these “news” as news:
Sean Baker at the The Med City Beat; Taylor Nachtigal and Andrew Setterholm at the Post Bulletin

Hannah Arendt believed that the source of the new in the world was simply and profoundly that new people are born: “the new beginning inherent in birth can make itself felt in the world only because the newcomer possesses the capacity of beginning something anew….” There is something to be said for appreciating that the new comes as if of its own accord, comes because we bring new people into the world, comes when these new people show up or step up or stand up.

No comments:

Post a Comment