Having lived in the town of Grafton for more than twenty five years, I can both remember how things were and see how they have changed. Often as I drive the streets of this town I am aware of places that were once bare of buildings and are now well populated. It is an interesting feeling: In my minds eye I see trees that once shaded sidewalks now vanished, succumbed to blight or old age; I note houses once one color that are now another. I have memories of roads where I used to walk that were near where I once lived. The past and the present mingle in my mind as I pass through the familiar places.
Janus, the Roman god for whom January was named was honored as the guardian of doorways. He is pictured with two faces, one looking forward, one back. It is interesting to note that they are joined. The past, the present and the future are not separate. Looking back on the year now past gives me perspective as well as a sense of continuity, as does looking forward. As I get older the past, the present and the future blend even more into one. I occasionally need to sort things out and the New year is a good time for this.
There is much that I have accomplished over the past year: columns written, manuscript readied for publication, countless meals prepared, recipes tried, new friends made. Some projects I planned did not turn out as I had anticipated; others turned out to be even better than I thought they would. There have also been significant losses for me this year: friends I treasured that have moved on either in this life or to the next. I still feel connected to them, yet they are receding into the past. I am also pleased to have made progress in changing certain negative habits and building others that are more positive.
It is my hope to keep learning and growing for all of the years I have to live in this lifetime. Because I believe this is important to my quality of life, I work at constantly recreating myself. Toward that end I like to try different things I haven’t done. It is also important to me to review and to renew those I have done in the past. If something doesn’t work for me, I’ll set it aside and move on, yet I may return to try it again. Among other planned projects I want to get back into drawing, illustrating one of my earlier tales. I also have a bunch of sorting to do, and a book of poems to put together.
Perhaps this is the year I will finally go through those notebooks I have been keeping from many years past and mine them for gems I have forgotten or left behind. Certainly I know I will write new stories and new columns, and surely publish at least one new book as well. As I look back and forward, for that which is helpful that remains from the past I say thank you, and for that which was stressful and is now over, I say the same. Having looked back with gratitude, I now look forward with optimism and the knowledge that a new year awaits.