I lived in Northwest Arkansas for many years. When traveling there from Mississippi, you have to pass through the Bobby Hopper Tunnel on I-49 (540). Designers/engineers created this tunnel by hollowing out openings in the Boston Mountains, I believe. Travelers literally have to drive through the earth to get to the other side of this tunnel.
You can’t help but be amazed and slightly pressured approaching the dim corridor. It is ominous, yet intimate, as if you’re riding in a dark, candle-lit room with Mozart playing loudly. It is both a dream and a nightmare.
Speeding through the Bobby Hopper Tunnel produces an exciting rush as well as a panic inside. First-timers may have an urge to cover their eyes or ears— apprehensive about driving through this great void surrounded by earth and rock.
This is what the end November feels like. A perilous stretch that eventually must come to an end; the promise of a coming light…
When the appointed time comes and you finally emerge from that portal on I-49 to re-enter the naturally lit world, something shifts. There’s bright sky and cathedral-like wilderness. Everything is exposed and you instantly realize how artificial and dark it was back there. It dawns on you how contrived and daunting that tunnel experience actually was.
This is what I believe it will feel like looking back on the angst and anxiety of 2020: A victorious feeling of having made it through oblivion— having made it out of our tunnel where uncertainty was the foreboding tone.
Will there be light? A turning point? Renewed faith or bravery in the face of our new worldview? Here we are: December of 2020. What exactly was that we just went through? May there be clarity. May God show us light at the end of this thing…
Clinnesha is a wife, mom, daughter/sister/auntie, literary artist, humanities scholar, and social entrepreneur. Her advocacy work is at the intersection of black/feminist thought, arts, culture, and community.