step in a new direction

step in a new direction

In two weeks, it will be New Year’s Eve. There will be much discussion about the highs and lows of the past year — personal and political, ordinary and celebrity. As we look ahead to the New Year, it is a traditional time to drop bad habits and start new ones, make healthy improvements and set new goals for our lives.

Don’t do it. It’s a trap.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with dropping bad habits and improving our health. There’s nothing wrong with starting something new. But the pressure to make major changes on January 1st so often results in disaster. Good habits are started and, after the first flush of success, frequently drop out of sight and out of mind until the end of another year. If you are like me, you’ve given up on New Year’s resolutions because you’re tired of the cycle of hopeful but often unprepared beginnings, followed by the whimper of a pitiful ending.

I have decided to make some resolutions, but I’m not going to wait until January 1st:

  • I will begin something new when I need to, and not put it off until I turn a page in the calendar.
  • I will be free to start again (and again and again) at any time without feeling guilty.
  • I will do my best to live in the “now”, and not in the “later”.
  • I will remember that every day is a new day, and every step in a positive direction is an accomplishment.

My first goal is to stop filing my papers on top of my desk, and find a place for everything, whether it’s trash or treasure. There, I’ve said it. Now, to start doing it!

Photo taken on December 16, 2010

city landscape with deer

city landscape with deer

A news report in the paper recently mentioned how there were fewer deer “caught” during the recent hunting season because the local deer population has become urbanized.

Now that the deer have moved into the city, they will increasingly become prey to fashion instead of hunters. Their taste for hostas and tulips will evolve as they discover the joy of doughnuts and coffee. They will cultivate an interest in furniture and floral tablecloths, and start attending parades and Shakespeare in the Park. They will learn step-dancing and become expert topiarists.

They will become part of our landscape, just as we are already part of theirs.

Taken on November 27, 2010

that summery feeling

There are a few memories I’d like to take into winter with me. I’d like to remember the hot breeze on my forehead, the warm sun against my back. I’d like to remember the whispering of the pines and the tinkling of the poplar leaves as they dance in the wind. I’d like to remember the hot sand beneath the soles of my feet, and the soft grass tickling my bare toes. I’d like to remember this: standing (carefully) in the dappled shade of a thorn tree, hearing the buzz of flies circling lazily in the noonday sun, gazing at the wide open field under blue blue skies.

Taken on August 11, 2010

deer where?

Deer are common here — so common that they are considered a nuisance. Gardening columns and nurseries contain lists of “deer resistant” plants. Newspaper articles talk about the pros and cons of “deer culling”. When people mention “the Millidgeville herd”, they’re not talking about a social clique. My parents used to be able to grow bulbs and shrubs in their garden, but now the few plants that survive are protected by chicken wire. Our tulips were destroyed before they even bloomed this spring, and yes, there were deer tracks in the ravished garden bed. In the field behind our house, we often see two or three deer, and the dogs know they’re there even when we don’t. Not even the experts can agree on why the city’s deer population keeps growing, so it seems that we have to learn to live with them. I still think it’s a treat to see them appear… as long as they stay out of my vegetable patch!

Photo taken on July 16, 2010

summer collection

The fields are really beautiful at this time of year. In the wild space behind our house, the wildflowers have grown tall in the summer sun. I can see Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod, yarrow…. and lots of other plants I can’t (yet) name. If you look closely, you might even find a few raspberries and blackberries as well. And everywhere you look, there is lush growth, a riot of greenness that is such a sweet gift after the barren brownness and harsh whiteness of winter. Here’s to you, sweet summertime!

Taken on July 15, 2010