Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunset on 2007

Perhaps I should designate 2007 as the year of the power outage. Certainly the end of the year has been that way. This morning after the alarm went off but before I had my slippers on, the power went off again.

Overnight, I had less than an inch of snow, so downed trees or limbs are not the issue. Perhaps, this time it was the standard car-into-a-pole scenario. In any event, the mountain is dark this morning. Again.

For me, starting a new year means starting a new bird list. It's a time of hope and optimism, when I plan to spend more time birding, when I resolve to look harder for my local birds, when I hope April and May will bring waves of warblers to the mountain.

But December 31? If it means anything to me, it means getting the spreadsheets and bird lists ready for the new year. As a day in and of itself, I don't pay all that much attention to it. Certainly my feeder birds don't know that tomorrow I will be counting them (again) in earnest. To the natural world outside my door, tomorrow is simply another sunrise, another sunset. Some days I wonder if I should be more like that. Other days, I'm happy to observe the human-created holidays and rituals that are separate from the goings on in the natural world. Call it inter-species tension, if you like, as for all I know, trees have their own holidays and rituals that humans aren't privy to and don't celebrate.

So I am preparing for a human holiday tomorrow, a human-labeled arrival of the new year, though as a species we can't even agree on the date for its start. I can find references to 20+ different dates for the start of the new year. We do, however, seem to agree that a new year is cause for celebration, so I guess that's something. For now, it will have to do.

Happy New Year! However and whenever you celebrate it.


Lynne said...

Happy New Year to you too Carolyn. I hope it's filled with glimpses into our natural world.

Jennifer said...

For me, New Year's Eve has become a tradition of gourmet foods with friends. We pick a country, then select menu items that sound good. We divide up the recipes and each cook, coming together at around 7 to eat... and eat... and eat... We have had some pretty amazing meals...

On the other hand, I understand your sentiment about it being just another day. Sometimes I pick the Vernal Equinox to celebrate a new year, or my birthday, or the first day of school... It seems human nature to want to reflect on the time that has past and make resolutions for change for the time coming up... Nothing wrong with that... no matter when you do it.

Cathy said...

Happy New Year! Carolyn. There's a part of me wishes the new year would start in spring. However, I would miss taking down my Christmas tree watching Rose bowl parade

Kat said...

I find it interesting that we are the only species preoccupied with the new year. I agree in that it's pretty much like any other day. I'll have some new goals for myself (versus resolutions), but other than that, I look forward to a new year and new experiences. Enjoy your 2008 bird counts, Carolyn.

Happy New Year!

pablo said...

Yep, it does seem about the most arbitrary date on the calendar, doesn't it? I'll take it as it comes, but it really isn't more than just another day of the week to me.

Carolyn H said...

All: The traditional meal in this area is pork, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, which I will consume later today. I sort of wish our new year would start on the winter solstice. For me, it seems to make sense that when the days start to lengthen again is when the new year should start.