Joy in 2012

Happy New Year single reader!

It’s a beautiful, blue sky day here in summit county. But since yesterday’s blizzard came with winds so high they whipped the snow off the mountain before it could reach the ground, we’re still sorely lacking suitable ski conditions – which is probably for the better as I continue to heal. So rather than spending the first day of the year on the slopes as I have for so many winters past, I’m spending it at home for a little R&R and some quiet contemplation.

I have to be honest, browsing through twitter and facebook yesterday left me disheartened. So many people were posting excitedly about the new year, but not in the way that you might think. Status after status expressed a sad desire to leave 2011 behind them. It seems it wasn’t a great year for many of my online acquaintances.

I know awful things have happened this past year. Natural disasters, failing economies, lost jobs, lost loved ones. I don’t mean to belittle people’s troubles and sorrows. I just think it’s a shame to be harping on those events on the last day of the year. There had to be some good moments in there. Rather than racing forward to escape the past, shouldn’t we spend the last day of the year celebrating the good? Surely there were some small triumphs to remember, some moments of happiness to enjoy? The negativity scrolling across my newsfeeds made me sad for the people so eager to say goodbye.

But then, I’ve never cared for goodbyes. I can’t remember really ever thinking that I wanted to grow up or jump ahead. In fact, as a child I used to pray every night that the world would stop spinning. My elementary school logic reasoned that if the earth were to stop it’s rotation, time would stop as well, keeping everyone exactly how they are, forever. I guess I’m pretty lucky that my childhood was happy enough to wish then that it would never end.

There are advantages to moving forward of course. Most of my favorite memories of this year were supremely adult. As in they couldn’t have been possible had I been a child. Sitting at dinner last night, I scanned the year through my head and picked out my favorite moments…

They included a joyous, powder-filled start. My triumphs with the children I taught. Returning to the beautiful red rocks of Canyonlands and all my wonderful friends there. New friends made deep in the heart of pre-historic cliff dwellings. Glowing letters from visitors who felt I’d really touched them. The bright-eyed little girl who told me she had decided she wanted to be a lady ranger like me when she grew up. Sunset dinners on a beautiful, open deck with a loving, promising new family. Adventures on rivers, on mountains, and deep in the canyons. Epiphanies of all kinds over a five week hike in a foreign county. The diverse, incredible people I met there. Coming home to the people who love me most. Reunions. Food. Family. Magic.

And then fireworks. It was freezing cold as we watched them, and I worried that maybe my face would forever be stuck in that frozen expression. But then I thought, how lucky am I to face a danger like having the muscles of my mouth caught in a state of perpetual joy?

I wish you all the most joyous 2012.

My family at New Years dinner last night.

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