And so a new year begins. I wonder what this year will bring? The older I get, the faster the years seem to fly by, and unanticipated changes are always presenting me with new experiences that bring both joy and sorrow, experiences that stretch my mind and my skills, experiences that continue to shape me and teach me and help me to grow.
I could not have anticipated, on January 1st, 2006, that by year end I would be living on a beautiful five acres, caring for an abandoned alpaca, yet separated from my heartdog Emma.
I could not have anticipated, on January 1st, 2007, that by year end I would be foster mama to twelve potbellied pigs who constantly make me laugh, nor that I would fall in love with and adopt a brindle pitti boy named Caleb whom I would lose to cancer a short time later.
I could not have anticipated, on January 1st 2008, that by year end I would have not one, not two, but four senior dogs sharing my life, four funny furry characters each with such different and wonderful personalities.
And I cannot anticipate, this January 1st, 2009, what will change by year end, what new experiences I will have lived, what new animals will have come into my life, nor to which loved ones – human and four-legged – I will have said goodbye.
It will likely be a year of great changes for me, as I plan to retire and to move to Vancouver Island. But plans have a way of going awry, and new challenges and new opportunities often move us in other directions. And so who knows what this year will bring?
I do know that my involvement with animals will be a constant, as will my enjoyment of the outdoors. Those things are embedded in my soul, my spirit, and give my life purpose and meaning. They are, fortunately, portable pleasures – no matter where I go, I will always find meaning for my life.
Above my desk, I have a framed print of one of my favourite poems by Jayne Relaford Brown. It is called “Finding Her Here” and it reads, in part:
I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
.....I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.
(Brown, Jayne Relaford, 1994, "Finding Her Here" in I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted, edited by Sandra Haldemann Martz. Watsonville, CA: Papier-Mache Press )
I may not know where I am going, but I do know I have plenty to share. And I thank you, my readers, for letting me share this little corner of my world, my life with the critters, with you.
Let me end this New Year’s Day post with a few of my very favourite images from the past year.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2009 be good to us all.