Happy New Year

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and memes referring to what an awful year 2020 was, and saying basically “Good riddance!”

No one would deny that 2020 was full of challenges. My heart goes out to the people who lost friends and family members in the Covid-19 pandemic. And my heart goes out to those who were injured or killed by racially motivated violence. Weather-related events claimed lives as well.

So I’m not pretending 2020 was all sunshine and roses. Still, it was a great year in many ways.

There was the fact that the pandemic shutdown led to an unprecedented reduction in carbon emissions — and we saw how quickly wildlife and ecosystems responded to the reined-in human footprint. It really showed what a difference we can make by curbing unnecessary travel and extreme consumerism.

There was the #BlackLivesMatter movement’s rise to mainstream prominence. This past year, many of us heard the word “anti-racism” for the first time, and it gave well-intentioned white people something better to aspire to beyond just “trying not to be racist” (which is impossible because racism is baked-in to the system: systemic racism).

There were other things too but those were the two biggest shifts I felt in 2020.

That said, I DO feel that 2021 will be a great year.

On New Year’s, I love a mixture of new adventures and old favorite things. And I got plenty of both!

New Year’s Eve day, I got a last-minute call from a friend who started a native-plant landscaping business this past year. She’s been getting steady work including some big jobs. She invited me to help out on a job that’ll probably last for several days. We are digging out a lawn and moving a bunch of dirt in preparation for native plantings. It’s hard work and great fun. Exhilarating, even! I expect “native yardscaping” and “re-wilding” to be a growing sector of the landscaping business.

In the evening I headed to the home of a dear friend to ring in the new year. A longtime friend, the first person I met in Florida when I moved here in 2010. She lives about 10 miles from me, and I used to visit her regularly but I hadn’t spent time at her house since before the pandemic hit. On the 31st I bicycled up there carrying a tent and blanket on my back so I could stay the night social-distance-compliant. (Pre-pandemic, I’d just crash on her sofa.) With her housemates, we listened to a bit of music and had a champagne toast. I’m amazed I managed to stay up til midnight.

The camping experiment was a success! I can now highly recommend camping in friends’ yards as a great way to have a social-distance sleepover. That was a fun new adventure.

And I woke up this morning to a PayPal notification — my first book order of the new year. Yay!

And finally, I started a fire just now in my newly built fire pit. Auspiciously, I started the fire with just one match. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before in my life!

I hope you found some satisfying ways to ring in the new year. And I hope 2021 brings you peace, abundance, and adventure.