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Posts Tagged ‘new year’

Mid-January can feel so bare.  The warmth and sparkle of the holidays are already a distant memory.  The days are still short and the nights long and cold.  New Year’s resolutions made just a couple of weeks ago seem more difficult to keep with every passing day.  It seems that winter has a frozen grip around not just the landscape but our souls as well.

I wonder about the animals hibernating in their cosy holes beneath the ground.  Why don’t we possess the same instinct to withdraw at this time of year?  In centuries past, northern folk refrained from activities after the harvest, huddled together to conserve warmth and waited out the darker days by sleeping more and eating less. 

In contrast we seem to expect more of ourselves at this time of year.  January is a productive time in homes, schools and workplaces as we attempt to meet the challenges we’ve set for ourselves.   If we feel tired and find it difficult to start the day or week, perhaps it should come as no surprise. 

In the winter forest, lichens take advantage of the sunlight that’s blocked by the canopy of leaves during the other seasons.  They cover tree trunks and hang from the bare branches.  Despite seasonal interruptions in light, they carry on, eventually covering entire trees with their delicate ornament.  Their growth may seem slow to us, but it is growth nonetheless.   

In January, instead of expecting amazing strides in growth like leaves in springtime, we might be wiser to adjust our expectations.  Renewed patience for our tasks and our ability to do them might be just what we need.  The year is still new, and there’s plenty of time ahead to make fresh beginnings.

In our journey through life it does not matter whether we achieve all the goals we have set ourselves, but that we should show patience when we do not succeed in something and then make a new start.
~ Ambrose Tinsley OSB

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The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but that we should have a new soul.
~ G.K. Chesterton

In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone.   The Earth is changing.  Could we be too?  Here in Cow Bay, we had our share of the extreme weather that made headline news across Canada in 2010.  Numerous storm surges caused flooding along the coast while high winds brought down tall trees. 

Still, there was much to be thankful for. 

A mild winter and very early spring made hearts light.  The warm summer that followed brought gorgeous blooms and amazing tree growth.  When fall’s leaves finally turned, many welcomed the cool, fresh air on the tails of a wicked September heat wave.  This winter has been very mild with little snowfall to date.  Surely cold and snow are lurking just beyond the corner of the new year.

Though we may not have any control over the weather, we do have control over our response to it.  As weather patterns continue to change in the year ahead, I wonder how we will respond both individually and collectively.  Will we become smarter planners like the ants, or more likely to sing in the sun while it’s shining like the grasshoppers?  Perhaps a little of both.

Natural phenomena and the effect of Nature on the spirit were frequent topics among my posts in 2010.  I especially enjoyed writing about Nature’s potential to teach, comfort and inspire:

A few posts even made it to the front page of WordPress in 2010. 

Deforestation, aggressive coyotes and our vulnerable coastline will continue to be concerns in the year ahead.  However,  regardless of what Nature has in store for us in 2011, we will always have much to be thankful for, including one another.  Happy new year and happy trails to all in 2011!

All are but parts of one stupendous whole, whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
~ Alexander Pope

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One of the most enchanting of nights is that of the blue moon… so began a composition I wrote back in elementary school almost 40 years ago.  Somewhere I had read that if you made a wish while gazing at a blue moon it would come true.  From a wisher’s perspective, it would be like looking at a night sky full of falling stars.

I was still a child when I saw my first blue moon.  It was visibly blue and I made a wish.  It was a Friday night and I was in the backyard with my grandparents who were raking and burning grass. 

Visibly blue moons are caused by smoke or dust particles in the air, not an entirely uncommon phenomenon in the mining and pulp and paper communities of Northerm Ontario where I grew up.  Perhaps just the smoke from the burning grass was the factor that made the moon blue.  I didn’t question why it was blue.  It simply was.  And it was magical.  I made my wish… I hadn’t seen some members of my family for some time and I wished for their presence.  Less than an hour later, they arrived, totally unexpected by my grandparents.  I was awestruck.

The realization of my wish awakened my senses to everything in my surroundings.  The colour of the sky, the feel of the evening air and the smell of the burning grass are all ingrained in my memory. 

When I was a teenager I tried to draw a blue moon.  It’s shown above, as seen in my mind’s eye at the time.  I was captivated by their mystery.  Unfortunately, I never saw one again.  Or at least I didn’t think I had. 

Recently I learned that blue moon is the name given to the second full moon that occurs in a calendar month.  This event usually only takes place once every three years or so. 

This New Year’s Eve we’ll have the first such blue moon since May 31, 2007.  The next one won’t occur until August 31, 2012. 

The Farmers Almanac has a different formula for calculating the occurence of blue moons, one that involves calling a moon blue if it’s the fourth full moon to occur within a season.  For a thorough explanation you can visit Wikipedia’s entry on Blue Moons.

The way I see it, since blue moons only occur once in a blue moon, it’s best to leave calculations to the astronomers and the farmers at the almanac and focus instead on making the most of the wishing aspect of this event. 

Melting Snowman Wishing for Colder Days Ahead

I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred,
I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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It’s been a wonder-full year for getting outdoors and learning about the natural world around Flandrum Hill.  Keeping a nature journal certainly made me more aware of the seasonal changes that take place throughout the year.  Writing about the plants and wild creatures I saw encouraged me to look deeper into field guides in an effort to learn more.  It’s been quite an adventure in discovery.

I wrote about all kinds of things.  As long as it had to do with nature in my neck of the woods in Nova Scotia, it was game.  Some posts received more views than others.  Two in particular, October’s Complementary Palette and December’s Days of Enchantment topped the list, as they were featured on WordPress.com’s homepage

A few others posts were found over and over again by students doing research for projects and essays, or people wanting to find out more about an odd subject, such as whether or not it’s safe to eat slugs: 

My favorite posts were those that expressed how I feel, more so than what I know about nature…

Or that gave everyone something to smile about…

A Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt produced a great deal of excitement as readers engaged in finding images in their part of the world that interpreted nature’s shapes and elements.  Posts from the beginning to the end of this hunt can be found here. 

The best part of blogging in 2009 was connecting with others both locally and around the world, and sharing the excitement of discovering something new in nature that I hadn’t seen before. 

With all best wishes for peace and happy trails in 2010 to everyone, and regular readers especially.

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