Friday, January 12, 2001

Looking Back

This time last year, I suggested you simply choose a theme for the year instead of a New Year's resolution. I was attempting to do that very thing for myself this last week, find this year's theme, when I started reflecting. I couldn't stop. I finally bagged any idea of a 2001 theme and just gratefully enjoyed my reflections of 2000.

Winter 2000
I'm grateful that I could spend most of the night of January 20-21 around a small fire in my back yard watching the spectacular eclipse of the Moon. At total eclipse the moon was nothing more than a red ring in a dark and crisp winter sky and my fire was little more than hot coals on white, crisp winter snow. A month later, I found myself grateful that Gary and Sandy hosted their 13th annual Burn the Blues Bonfire. More than fifty of us spend the entire night burning old Christmas trees and anything else we wanted to remove from our 1999 lives. 

Spring 2000
In Canada on a weekend fishing trip, I was grateful Steve and Jeff thought to bring an ice auger and tip-ups as the rest of us were expecting to fish from our canoes. The canoes rode north nicely and waited patiently in a snow bank to be hauled home. I'm also grateful the cabin had a huge stove and plenty of wood as we watched the temperatures drop well below zero all three nights. And the spring of 2000 was definitely a year to express gratitude for morel mushrooms. In two consecutive days in April, I managed to pick over 10 pounds of this illusive delicacy and freeze some for this winter. Yes, I can even be grateful for things that thrive in dark secretive rotting places.

Summer 2000
Back in Canada on another fishing trip, I'm grateful for the incredible number of fish we caught but even more grateful we survived a black fly hatch. No other insect inspires such apprehension in me. Mercifully black fly relief comes at dark so we could enjoy each evening a campfire and a few tall fishing tales. I'm grateful too for my garden in full bloom across the front yard because the previous winter was mild enough that the deer didn't feel they had to eat all my bulbs in the spring. This summer also brought four abandoned puppies to the 2nd Annual Cool Coaching Campout. Thanks, Drew, for taking Tasha home. I'm grateful that I get to see those puppies regularly. My babies are all grown up.

Fall 2000
You guessed it, I'm grateful for another fishing trip. This time the gratitude definitely goes to the number and size of Northern Pike and Walleye we caught. Pike and walleye are members of the same wolfish family. Their mean temper causes them to pounce on anything that moves, edible or not. So I'm especially grateful to Randy and Steve for finding the time to stay a couple of extra days because “the fish are biting.” Thanks guys, you're my heroes!

So in the middle of trying to do some forward thinking, what has all this reflection done for me? Well, I'm not sure. I can tell you it was very indulgent and satisfying. Once I started reflecting, I began feeling immense gratitude. Research shows that the thoughts you entertain actually have an impact on your body chemistry and immune system.

I can definitely see at least a couple common threads in my 2000 gratitude highlights. Whether it was a fishing trip, a winter party or viewing the eclipse, fire, water and Jersey dog were most always present in last year's activities. There's probably a theme for 2001 somewhere in all of that and I’ll let you know if I figure it out. Or if you've figured it out, feel free to email me. But I'm willing to recognize the limits of logic. So, I'm just going to lower the flame, put the topic on the back burner and let this year's theme simmer a little. “Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Happy New Year!

“May all your troubles during the coming year be as short as your New Year's resolutions.” ~Anonymous

“I feel a very unusual sensation—if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” ~Lily Tomlin

“The way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” ~Oscar Wilde

“Earth is crammed with heaven.” ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. ~Will Rogers

Try a gratitude list like the one I created for 2000. Enjoy the good health that comes from the great feelings.