Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.
At this time of year we naturally look back on the past months and even the past years at what has occurred in our lives and the world, at our gains and losses. We particularly remember what no longer exists among us beyond memories, to enable the spirits of these things to live on by various acts of commemoration.
Humans forge their own significance to their individual lives, their families, their communities, and even larger entities. Our perceptions and meanings form our realities; this affects the scope of our commemorations of things past. For some their awareness reaches only a little beyond the mass media’s tedious reflections at this time of year, beginning even before the yuletide holidays with constant lists of those who passed in the last year or, worse yet, annoyingly ubiquitous “Top 10 of the Decade” lists for every subject imaginable. The flood of such easy content can overwhelm us, distracting us from more pressing news and dire action.