I took the dog for a walk on New Year's Eve, our last walk down her trail for 2016. There were a few people out, but since we went later in the day, most people were home getting ready to ring in the new year. New Year's Eve has never been a big hit for David and me. It used to be, back when we were younger, living in the Washington, DC suburbs. We got married in November, just a few days after Thanksgiving, so we had a lot of firsts within a matter of a few weeks: first apartment, first holiday shopping, first Christmas tree (a big Douglas pine that barely fit into our tiny apartment), first Christmas morning and our first New Year's Eve. In between Christmas and the last day of the year, we had a huge snowfall, over eight inches at least, so instead of going to a big party with David's co-workers, we decided to play in the snow after supper before coming home to open a bottle of champagne left over from our wedding. We took the bottle out onto our balcony, popped the plastic cork and watched it as it soared gracefully into the night time air before coming down and hitting the window opposite us with a loud crack! We burst into giggles after diving back into our little house, slamming the balcony doors behind us.
It's kinda hard to match a New Year's Eve celebration after something like that, although I'm sure it can be done.
New Year's Eve usually finds us curled up on the couch, either watching movies or the big celebrations going on in Times Square in New York City. We'd rather spend it quietly and peacefully. I guess it's because we've gotten older and have a healthy respect for a full eight hours of sleep and waking up the next day clear headed and feeling like ourselves.
Langley's and my walk proved to be just as peaceful. As we were entering the trail head, a flock of geese flew over us, honking out directions to the ones behind, the followers honking back their thanks. We heard two owls further down the trail, one hooting out greetings, the other answering back. The robins were subdued, maybe bedding down for an early night. We didn't get to see the blue heron that I had seen earlier on my morning run, nor did we get to see the beaver that has been busy damming up the little creek, causing deep pools to form in between his log jams. The world seemed to be relaxing, ready to give up the old and to welcome in the new.
As I walked along with Langley sniffing constantly at the ground (I think she likes to pretend she's a police bloodhound, hot on the scent of an escaped convict), I thought about what it is that I want to accomplish in 2017. I don't believe in Resolutions or picking out a word to live by. For one thing, I usually forget the word by the end of winter and resolutions always seem to get broken before they're even thought through all the way. No, I prefer to make goals made up of different levels, and then when I reach a certain level towards the larger goal, I can mentally cross off the previous step and look towards the next level to achieve. A sort of "divide and conquer", if you will. I also like to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write out a list with different types of activities to work on. One thing I'd like to achieve this year to is run at least 1,000 miles (so far, I've run 10 miles. Just 990 more to go!); another thing I'd like to learn is to create a time lapse; one more thing is to scale back on my social media. Little non-consequential things, but things I think will help make me a better person and a more learned person.
I was thinking all that as we plodded along New Year's Eve, just the two of us, each caught up in our own little worlds, each of us listening to the owls hidden in the woods, the last rays of sunlight reaching out towards us to stroke our cheeks, the little creek babbling off to our right and I felt at home. Walking along "Langley's Trail" with her next to me and the world going to sleep all around us, that was what I wanted in the coming year. The peace that comes at the end of the day, the quiet and the togetherness that the last minutes of the day brings. There's magic to be found during that time.
There really is.