Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1st, 2009

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

weathered basket......

.....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.


Janice Gillett said...

And we don't get to see each other as often as i would like , but thank you for sharing that year with me!

Happy New Year jean!!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Jean.
May 2009 bring new wonderfull and exciting things into your life.


shihtzustaff said...

Happy New Year Jean to you and all the critters. Retiring sounds great but what would you do with all the piggies?

Jean said...

Shihtzustaff, the piggies belong to Hearts on Noses sanctuary and they will all go there when the time comes for me to move, unless the perfect adoptive home is found before that date - that has always been the understanding between the sanctuary and I. Hopefully, the sanctuary will have a new, larger home by then; the present one has been on the market for many months.

One principle I live by is to live within my limits. I do not have the resources, physical or financial, to care for a dozen pigs in my senior years. It was never my intent to adopt them or to provide permanent foster care for them, as much as I would love to be able to do so.
I have great faith that the universe unfolds as it should....whatever the New Year brings, it will all work out for the best. I believe.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Jean. I'm so glad to have come to know you through little Princess Belle. I was recalling only yesterday my first trip to your place just over a year ago, ostensibly a pre-adoption home-check but really more of a visit, and then driving home with an ear-to-ear grin, knowing Belle could not have found a more perfect retirement home than with you. It's my great pleasure to know you and your gang of critters!

Last night as friends gathered at our house to see out the old year and welcome the new, I expressed my reservations about the coming year. A wonderful friend said to me "it will be what we make it, and therefore it will be good" and gave me a hug.

Here's to the good year to come.


Kate said...

Happy New Year Jean and the Critters !
I too believe that we are only given as much as we can handle at the present time, and that situations will unfold when we are ready, opportunities present themselves when we least expect it, and to grab it with both hands when it does, because rarely do we get a second chance.
of course I also believe, that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, and if you don't look after yourself first, how can you lookout and after others!
It has been a year of ups and downs for us all, and I try not to compare one year to the next in terms of good or bad, just that they present different challenges.
may your New Years unfold to bring you and the Critters peace and prosperity, and all the things you dream and want to accomplish.
thank you for sharing your corner of the world with us.
Kate and Lucy,Finn,Grayce

Jean said...

Deb, what I remember most about that homecheck was the look on your face when Caleb just clambered right on up into your lap - all 70 pounds of him - and made himself at home despite my admonishments of "Caleb, OFF!"

It's funny, isn't it? - Caleb showed you what a happy, confident dog he was (and I swear he whispered in your ear that this was the best place on earth), and it was during the trip to your place to pick up Belle a few days later that my vet called to tell me Caleb had cancer. I wonder if it was Caleb who chose Belle for me?

Black Jack's Carol said...

Jean, I enjoyed, as always, reading your thoughts as the new year gets underway. And, as for the photos, there are so many heartwarming and funny and just plain beauty ones, I can't pick one out as my personal favorite. Each one seems to be the best, until the next one comes along.

Audrey said...

Happy New Year, Jean! Great post. I hope this is a wonderful year for you & your animals. I can't help but notice that your favourite photos from this past year do NOT include any SNOW! :-) I've had enough of the white stuff, too!