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Same As It Ever Was


There is a tradition here on the ridge that includes walking "the square" on New Years Eve. A two mile square-ish loop of dirt roads, containing three houses in total (two with year-round residents), that for some reason draws ridge-folk even beyond these few homes. A respectable walk with a couple of hills decent enough to feel your heart work. Pretty views, even on a dark winter night. Especially on a dark winter night. One of the roads is generally not plowed, but this year’s lighter snow pack makes it passable to those inclined. 

The waning near-full moon brightened the night, casting shadows across snowy roads in the form of humans, four legged friends, and century old maples. On this clear, starry night, Mars perched visibly over our little home’s rooftop in the western sky. Glowing orange in the distance, seemingly content in its beautiful loneliness.

Looking back on my writings from a little over a year ago, I noted that I was entering 2020 with a drive and clarity that hadn’t been felt in a few years. A welcomed awakening after a chapter that included a slow goodbye to my father, sending our one and only off to college, and packing up and moving our household and my parents’ household. Those years were about getting through, for merely keeping heart and mind afloat. On the cusp of 2020, something had lifted. I felt lighter. Clarity returned and with it, possibility. I stepped into the new year blindly optimistic. As 2020 quickly unravelled before the world’s eyes, I managed to hang on to that initial feeling of drive and clarity. For reasons I am not clear on, those feelings remained throughout the year and resulted in more than a handful of wonderful things that happened in our family's life, despite the very real challenges we all faced. We had the most abundant sugaring season to date, I was accepted into nursing school (specifically for hospice nursing; in the end I decided not to attend at this time), we grew the most productive garden of our lives, we unexpectedly welcomed our daughter home, and we had the pleasure of watching her creatively launch her post-college career amidst a pandemic. I relaunched my own business in a way that feels incredibly fulfilling and sustainable. We made it to the other side healthy and intact. 

There were challenges, of course. Like you, I miss friends and family. I miss faces. I miss babies knowing that I am smiling at them. I’ve seen first hand the devastatingly swift here today gone tomorrow nature of this virus, and I’ve seen others barely miss a beat. 

Early reviews of 2021 are not exactly glowing, but we continue to make our small life here, and we continue to steel ourselves in the face of the unknown as best we can. Which I suppose is the same as it ever was. Tomorrow we’ll enjoy a day of snow; we haven’t had much of it this year. Maybe I’ll make pumpkin pie.