Another year is about to end. I had such a busy year that to me 2014 seemed to last about 6 months, not 12. I am hoping for a somewhat quieter 2015 but who knows? As the author of Cache Lake Country, my favorite outdoor book, says, "Starting a new year is like heading into strange country with no map to show you what’s round the next turn in the trail or what lies behind the hills." Sometimes that’s a good thing.
Another favorite writer, John Muir, said "the map is not the territory," so even if I had a map of the year ahead it certainly wouldn’t tell the whole story of what is to come. A map doesn’t give you the feel of the territory, nor can you get much of a sense of how easy or difficult the walking might be. Just because a map shows those little swamp icons, for example, doesn’t tell you if it’s a swamp you can walk through or one that’s impassible. So when Huck Finn says at the end of the story, "I’m heading off into the territory," you just know he didn’t have a map and probably didn’t want one. He was heading off into the unknown and seemed pretty eager to do so.
Heading into 2015 I feel a bit like Huck Finn, if perhaps more tempered by the years than that young sprout. It’s a new year, with new adventures, new hopes and challenges, and I would appreciate it greatly if it turns out there aren’t many ravines ahead. Even if I did have a map, I wouldn’t really know what’s ahead because I wouldn’t know how those events will make me feel. The map is not the territory, after all. But we are all heading off into "the territory" now. Here we go!