I like to be outside for the New Year if possible.  It starts the year out right and resets my constant intention to be outside more.  This year’s planned primitive cabin excursion was canceled due to one friend’s sickness and also the projected low temperature of -20 with wind chill.  The cabin has a woodstove but is uninsulated and I wasn’t sure if the gear we all had would be enough.  I was looking forward to the adventure but was aware it might be uncomfortable and was ultimately convinced to postpone.

Instead, we had a small house party with a local snowshoe hike at midnight.  When it was nearing the new year, we bundled up against the cold and crunched up the hill through a top layer of wind-frozen snow.  The fog in the sky cleared and the almost-full moon lit the landscape through a few briefly passing clouds.  The subzero wind eventually turned us back, just in time to reach a landing and see the faint glow of fireworks being set off in the neighborhood below right at midnight.

As we hiked down, I recalled that I spent a lot of my childhood New Year’s Eves running out the front door of the house just at midnight, banging pots and pans and whooping with all the neighbors.  So it seems that my affinity for being outside at the turnover of the year is nothing new.  I hope to continue it every year.

Here’s hoping for a more restful 2018 than what 2017 provided.  I’ll leave you with this poem by Mary Oliver, The Snowshoe Hare:

The fox
is so quiet—
he moves like a red rain—
even when his
shoulders tense and then
snuggle down for an instant
against the ground
and the perfect
gate of his teeth
slams shut
there is nothing
you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the dark pebbles
and across the field
and into the rest of the world—
and even when you find
in the morning
the feathery
scuffs of fur
of the vanished
snowshoe hare
on the pale spires
of the broken flowers
of the lost summer—
fluttering a little
but only
like the lapping threads
of the wind itself—
there is still
nothing that you can hear
but the cold creek moving
over the old pebbles
and across the field and into
another year.