Each December 24 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I walk the lanes where residents have lined their adobe houses with farolitos and built bonfires around which to gather and sing. This week, on a cold, clear Christmas Eve, I paused before this vignette above and marveled at the host of candles offering their light to anyone passing by.
And I thought of you—allies, friends—lining a path for women around the world to walk through every kind of darkness into their own radiance. As I reflect on this year now passing from us, it is you I want to thank. You who ignite our work, who encourage us to push further, to dream in ever-widening circles. You who gather around the bonfire of our common hope, your energies singing in the flames.
It is the team and board at Ibu I also want to thank, and endlessly. You carry the trust of all of us, and with exquisite care and vision, fueling the movement with the brilliance of your hearts.
And it is, above all, women in countries around the world who bravely join this movement that I wish to thank for a crowning year. You bring amazing innovation, inspiration, imagination, and stamina to our common work.
At the end of my neighborhood walk and caroling this week, I slip into a friend's modest old adobe home where she has prepared, in a small kitchen curtained from the cold night by a serape blanket, native posole and cider for anyone who chooses to wander by. Long graying braids frame her face wearing thirteen generations of New Mexican family history as we chat by the fire. My family is Jewish, she says. And Spanish Catholic. And a good bit of Native—it's all there in the blood she recently had tested. This is what we have to do in this crazy world, her spirit teachers of this and other worlds have instructed her. Open your doors. Feed one another. Be generous.
I sip her hot cider as she embraces a young couple saying their good-byes, strangers who happened by and helped her put the food on the table, light candles, move chairs to the bonfire. I pet the dog, Osso, whose interest in the peppermint bark on the coffee table is incurable. I sink into this night, into the presence of this undefended heart as wild and wide as the world, this cozy hearth where she has made a place for me.
When I walk away from her wise arms some time later, down the icy dirt lane and through the painfully dark night our world is enduring, I am certain that—lit by the small fires we tend, fed by the beauty of strangers, ablaze with a generous and persistent hope—we will walk bravely into this new year. You, and me, and all of us lining this uncertain path with our candled hearts, singing together.
All the Best,