As 2013 enters its final hours, we find ourselves reflecting on the old year and anticipating the new one in which we hope each day will offer a gateway to unmapped adventuring along the paths of life. We look upon the year ahead as our private mountain, whose turns and passes will reveal valleys of green to cross, fish-laden streams to ford, another cliff to scale.
An ending year brings a new calendar with fresh, clean pages. Yet, lest we forget, the years are not separate, but linked. Each new one carries the past into tomorrow. It brings its kiss of frost to sweeten collards, ripen the persimmons and fatten the possum.
As the daylight lengthens, the white forces of storming blizzards peak as howling storms burst free out of the frozen Arctic tundra. Further south, stranded travelers futilely spin their wheels on ice-glazed roadways. And any countryman worth his splitting-wedge knows if his woodpile is over half gone now, it will be a cold spring.
Yet beneath the deepening winter, change stirs. In due time the voices of spring peepers will be echoing their early mating songs. In another month the shad will be gathering for their spring spawn and waterfowl will prune their new flight feathers in preparation for migration.
No matter how tidily our new calendars come wrapped, the New Year itself arrives unknown and incomplete. Another year’s demise is neither the beginning nor the end. It is but the opening of another chapter in the endless book of seasons in which our lives are passages.