The new year is always a kind of chronological trope, an imaginary point of debarkation. We are so deeply knotted to time past and time future that come Jan. 1, we are hardly shoving off for parts unknown. Still, the change implicit in the new year can be a mental leap forward, a recasting of the imagination. Entering the new year also can be an act of conscience, and more so this year than in many years past.
Somehow it’s fitting to come into the new year on bare ground, even as the snow is gathering again. It makes it so much easier to take account of the work to be done, the decisions to be made and, for that matter, unmade. Some years it is just a gray transition from one calendar to the next, the resumption of a postponed meeting and an old agenda. But that is not how this new year feels. Time for the rotting fence posts to be replaced, the sagging gates to be rehung.
The image conjured up by the above comes easier to me this year than it ever has in the past. I am starting 2009 with my life barer than it has been in many years. A prime place to begin rebuilding who and what I want my life to be. The old year brought an end to the life that was. The safe, the familiar, the known…What comes next, both for me and the country is not known with any degree of certainty. But life will continue, the family will endure, as will the country. New directions, new paths, new objectives…New life.
The move to the mountains becomes more pressing as the world changes in all of the wrong ways. The climate, the economy, the world political stage…All are looking pretty grim. A place less crowded, not so close to a major metropolitan area, is becoming a real draw.
Personally, the mountains call me…Especially as I sit here on the third day of the new year, in what feels like summer weather in the North Carolina and Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course, there are trade offs…Winters in the mountains are a bit cooler to say the least. But, to be able to enjoy spring…and summer…and fall, not just a few days each winter…It is a dream, a plan, a goal…