I took my family's three dogs for a walk over the train tracks, through the forest, and along the river. The dogs ran free following scents only their noses smelled. I walked along in silence, except for the snow crunching underfoot. The bleak grey sky scared me. It felt vast and lonely. I often feel a bit melancholy when I’m alone in nature--it calls to mind the inescapable cycle of change.
Melancholy is not always bad though--it also makes me want to face reality as it is and love it’s imperfections and disappointments. The new year finds me far from where I was last year--in a different place with new plans. I am in Iowa until mid-February when I will fly to Buenos Aires where I will stay until June. Upstate New York and the life I lived there is quickly becoming a chapter in my past. Somewhere I was, which will go on changing in my absence.
As for me, I am changing too. I appreciate all the joy in my life over the past year--time with family, dinner with friends, exhilarating hikes, honest conversations, and big belly laughs. I am happy for opportunities I have had to study English and publish my writing. I take with me new skills as well. This year I learned to build a fire, rock climb, and to be better at corresponding with friends far away.
Like every year, there have been disappoints and sadnesses as well. I am learning to accept those things that are most difficult. To do this, I take my cue from the dogs. Dedicate yourself to the moment, a new adventure may only be a sniff away.