*A little past the midpoint of January. So, before it’s too late, if it’s ever too late, here’s a little reflection on the last 365 days.
2020. I don’t even know. I don’t even know. A shit show. A roller coaster. A tumultuous relationship where things were on again, off again. Codependent. A 12 step program. An empty bottle of whiskey. Lord. I don’t even really like whiskey. A lot of metaphorical crying and a lot of metaphorical unanswered texts.
That was 2020. For a lot of people. Many are still talking about it. About all the strangeness that came with that weirdo year. Of course it didn’t just end because the clock struck 12 on January 1st, 2021. But that magical last bong was an opportunity to shift gears and at the very least try to readjust to a hopeful new year. Leaving that weird year behind. I entered it with as much hope as I enter every single new year, walking through my traditions and my superstitions, (see this post for the rituals) and praying for something better. Always something better.
Month by month
January: After a hell of a rollercoaster that was 2020 I was ready to get off the proverbial ride. I wanted something positive. With incredible gratitude and surprise Shepherd’s Watch, the sweet second book of the Shepherd and Wolfe Mystery series that I call the ugly step sister (and still my favorite) ended up on the bookfairies_canada favorite list along with Home Body by Rupi Kaur, How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Dearly by Margaret Atwood, A Promised Land by Barack Obama and Becoming by Michelle Obama. If I were to pick a highlight of this month it would be this very post. I believe in book fairies! Having our second book right in the middle among these published rock stars on social media! Wow. I’m still not over it.
I fully embraced winter: snowshoeing, winter hiking, and skating. The highway was a good enough distraction when my gypsy soul needed to wander. When the snow was too much I retreated to my cozy cave and practiced backgammon, scrabble, and crib. I’m still learning to count those damn 15’s. Dave and I perfected our online meetings.
Takeaway: KEEP WRITING AND BREATHING THE FRESH AIR.
February: My niece turned 19. I gifted her a collection of boozey things. I found puppies and cats to cuddle with and spent time creating a homey vibe that has me exhaling happily every time I cross the threshold. As the cold eased up a little I explored a few winter trails getting as close to nature as nature would allow. I limited social outings to err on the side of caution.
Takeaway: WINTER SHOULDN’T SLOW ME DOWN.
March: The snow slowly melted and trickled down drains and the hikes became a little lighter with less gear hanging on my body. I found a great horned owl in a tree on the street where I walk to work. Felt like a gift. I took a swing at acrobat yoga. I watched light grow more as spring came.
Takeaway: LOOK UP.
April: With spring in the air, renovations began at my boyfriend’s house—a result of the pandemic, I’m positive. The creek thawed. Picnics in lieu of restaurant visits with friends. Easter bread baked in the oven and butterflies migrated. My dear friend Maren moved away. As I watched her leave my front step, my heart ached for the absence of our future visits but I still felt joy in her new adventure as I watched her go.
Takeaway: GOOD BYE IS SOMETIMES SEE YOU LATER.
May: Road trips to local towns, Weyburn, Nokomis, Earl Grey, with the smell of thaw and mud in the air and an all day adventure on the clay country roads finding the pushing up buds of the prairie fields, deer antlers, car picnics, stories and laughs. They were simple days. Normal days.
Takeaway: COUNTRY ROADS LEAD RIGHT WHERE I SHOULD GO.
June: Gardening is an optimistic activity. It was time to exercise that optimism at the greenhouse and in my yard. The sun was bright and hot. Our first lake day was June 5th, a first to be lake side with beers and snacks so early in the season. Walking the village, the fragrance of the blossoms was unusual. I can’t recall a time when spring, blossoms and beaches all ran together like they did this year. I found a new favorite beach. Flowers in full bloom and the magic day that is Summer Solstice, gave hope with all that summer light. Winter was just a memory. We moved forward into a strange pandemic land. Vaccinations became a hot topic.
Takeaway: SPRING ALWAYS COMES.
July: My friends from Washington D.C. moved to their permanent summer home on the prairies. A blessing to have them so close. The gender of a baby was revealed. Our second holiday together began and lasted two weeks. Through the Rocky Mountains our vehicle swerved and cruised beside lakes and cliffs, eagles and mountain goats. There was a lot of beach and lake time. It was as easy and seamless as the roads.
Takeaway: HOLIDAY AND BEACH TIME IS REJUVENATING.
August: More lake time—I can’t complain. I love it. Falling stars, camping, saying good bye to my niece who is studying in Montreal. Time at Tobin Lake, a gorgeous huge lake and river system north of here, with my sister and brother in law. Hikes at the Gem Lakes (another bucket list item). More falling stars and garden harvests. Everything felt so alive.
Takeaway: GETTING INTO NATURE IS NECESSARY TO BE A HAPPY HUMAN. SASKATCHEWAN HAS A LOT TO OFFER.
September: School begins—normally enough. Even with the responsibility of work the joys of summer continued with new hikes at Wakamow Valley a pretty, local surprise and the formations near Estevan at La Roche Percee had us wander fields and hills and forests, walking along rivers, climbing small cliffs and standing in the rays of another sunset. We watched the last of the day light, tailgating and munching on sandwiches. Starving. Delicious. Satisfied. The days were passing. Gently satisfied.
The girls gathered and we had our last patio outing.
Takeaway: NEVER LET GO OF EXPLORING.
October: With my QR code in hand I proceeded into autumn. Thanksgiving was at one farm and then another. With short notice, we loaded the car and drove to Saskatoon to see the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit where fine art and technology married so beautifully to immerse me in an Impressionist dream. The leaves dropped. So did the temperatures.
Takeaway: I DON’T HAVE TO GO TO PARIS TO APPRECIATE ART IN PERSON.
November: Still no snow. Hikes kept happening. I turned 53 and a little baby filled our hearts. We gathered more and more indoors with a little more confidence. QR codes at restaurants and liquor stores now a routine in our lives and finally, snow at the end of the month.
Takeaway: FAMILY COMES IN MANY FORMS.
December: The joy of a baby, a road trip to Alberta and the cycle begins. Christmas socials, birthday socials, the gathering of friends and family. The desire to be together and the warmth that this very specific cold brings didn’t desert us this month. The year ended with a calm happiness that it began with. A sprinkling of hope.
Takeaway: A SPRINKLING IS A FINE START
I had no expectations of this 2021. I just wanted peace. I got it. It was smooth and relatively easy. I am so very grateful for all the peace I have learned to walk towards, willingly and with love. My hope is that I continue to move forward in the direction of my hopes and dreams. Always looking forward.
Here’s to another hopeful year.