February came in December this year here in the twigs of Sussex County and it seems to have taken me and many of my friends by surprise. Forget that the cold makes bones ache and tempers short. Ignore the snowthrower that should have been exhumed from its burial plot in the tool shed before the first flakes touched down. Let go all of the frozen hoses and unfilled potholes and the space under the barn door that went without that load of shoulder stone someone (could be me...I'm not saying) forgot to order back in September when the late summer lulled us into lethargy. All of that is water under the....
Well, it would be water under the bridge if it weren't frozen now.
But New Year's Eve is nearly upon us! One more day, and 2009 will disappear forever to be replaced by a whole new decade ripe for sullying with our craziness. It's time to look back and be grateful (okay...a little pissed, but mostly grateful) for what the past decade has brought.
2000: The Millenium Bug went the way of the Pet Rock, which is to say it hit its peak early, then died a natural death when it became obvious that there wasn't much excitement value in watching clocks tick.
2001: You're expecting some comment on 9/11, so here it is. Bad year all around, but many of us went on to live fruitful lives despite the cloud of depression hanging over the planet. I watched my daughter graduate from college without becoming a drug addict (that is, I did not become a drug addict to compensate for my irrational concerns about her college experience).
2002: The UN Security Council passed the resolution that was designed to either a) force Iraq to disarm, or b) allow us to invade. We picked b. New horses came and occasionally left the farm while my daughter experimented with a lesson program, training, and, most of all, returning to the fold where Mommy Dearest collided with her reality. It all worked.
2003: Katherine Hepburn died, the Iraqi Freedom war began, and in an unrelated incident, I detached a retina. Nine months of staring at people's shoes passed before the surgeon finally, with great enthusiasm, sucked the stuff out of my eye and gave me eyeball stitches that went a long way as a disciplinary tool in my high school English class. "Sit down and shut up or I'll show you my eyeball!" Waaaah! I used the time off to compile my first book. Mars Odyssey climbed out of the atmosphere and into Mars orbit. Remember SARS? Yep! This was the year.
2004: The war continued while we prepared for my daughter's wedding. As someone who's own personal entire wedding planning episode took under three months, the advance-planning stages of this epic event overwhelmed me to the point where I became a home-bound psychotic and bought the ugliest dress in the mail-order catalog to wear to the reception.
2005: The Wedding Happened. We all survived. Most of us, intact. The former-daughter-now-wife and her two riding horses left. I spent the next six months having thrice-weekly confabs with the vet over the lump that appeared on my daughter's aged gelding's face. I had Cornell's vet school on speed dial.
2006: Not much happened in the larger world as far as I can ascertain other than the launch of history's longest and most obnoxious Presidential campaign. Two horses died, which was far more meaningful, and I got sick. That pretty much killed the rest of 2006, though it did not prevent me from putting together another book.
2007: This year started on a Monday. Could there be a worse omen? The war dragged on. A partial solar eclipse almost eclipsed war news for ten seconds. Halley's Comet did not return, but is scheduled to do so in 2061 if you don't mind waiting. I got to ride a fabulous dressage horse that did not belong to me and whose owner showed the poor judgment of letting me set butt in saddle on her boy. It was close to my birthday, which made it a truly pithy moment full of Grrrl Power fist-pumping which caused my bursitis to flare up.
2008: New President, Barak Obama, became the no-holds-barred target for every whifty wingnut this side of Sarah Palin. Very exciting year as far as news, but the horses were totally disinterested. I may have to install cable TV in the barn to keep their enthusiasm for human idiocy at a fever pitch.
2009: Yep, he's still President. I discovered that I'm allergic to cold weather. I learned that in August when the temperature never reached the required scorch-on-contact 105 degrees that I'd hoped for. Granted, I save a lot on electricity since the horses were fine with fans, obviating the need for the planned A/C installation in the barn. However, lacking excuses, I was forced to ride daily, which trickled down to an exercise regimen that would allow me to continue to do so. In recovery I wrote my third book.
2010: Wait for it.... Meanwhile, party hearty but safely, and may the New Year bring something to the table that the last ten were lacking, whatever that might be for you and yours.