The filmy dust of the new year floats, no, hovers over the edge of the earth.

Coming back to familiar territory, I hit a sudden realization that Brazil has finally arrived. The paint on buildings is flaking off like waves dried against a tombstone, and my breath is heavy with the weight of fallen dreams. But unlike those visions of the future, something is amiss.

In the corners of this world, where shadows meet light, there is laughter and joy. The scent of boiled pork and herbs, the feeling of fresh steam escaping like clouds into the sky, and the light inside people’s hearts shining through the gloom – these are differing alignments, hopeful buds on trees that are only beginning to sprout, or perhaps have been growing in the shade for a hundred years.

Buried beneath the carboned remains of burned things, new life awaits. That is the way of the world.