The marathon which has been 2016 is fast coming to a close.
The Wheel Turns. And, for better or for worse, we move on.

Naturally I’m hoping for better.

December 31, 2016 was a Saturday, (you there, reading this in future days, listen up!)

A Saturday during which my youngest and I washed a huge sinkful of pots and pans, tended to too many dogs, vacuumed everything (or so it seemed), and accomplished a number of other such dreary, repetitive tasks.

(My older boys all left around noon, off to help a friend move. It’s dusk now – and they’re still at it. I’m hoping they don’t return too tired to usher in the New Year.

I can’t imagine being that tired.)

Following the competition, (well, as much as such things are ever completed), of our self appointed mundane tasks, Rory and I had teatime. Polishing off the final two chapters of a new to us ChristmasTide Read, The Willows at Christmas by William Horwood.

Of which, as a loyal Kenneth Graham fan, I was highly suspicious.

Happily my suspicion was entirely unnecessary. The Willows at Christmas is a lovely read; funny, intelligent, filled with sparkle and wit and, (an important criteria in read alouds), wonderful vocabulary.
Horwood’s The Willows in Winter is next upon our list, (we’re reading them a bit out of order I fear). I can’t wait to begin it.

But I’ll have to.

Because tonight is our annual Yahoo Feast.

(If the word Yahoo beings to mind some internet something or other, think again! Look up Gulliver’s Travels, give it a read. And know you’d much rather be a houyhnhnm, than a yahoo.)

We’ll gather round the fire, perhaps to watch a film, (I usually have an idea of what – but I haven’t this year), or play a game. Then, as the witching hours draws near we’ll switch on the television to count down as that big ball falls in New York. And we’ll ring in this New Year as we have many others, with much loud banging of pots and pans, (aimed particularly at the corners of our home; where lurking, malevolent 2016 spirits are most likely to be found. Driving out those nasty, ornery spirits and welcoming the joyous ones. Perhaps putting out a pie plate of milk, cream if we have it – to encourage spirits of comfort and joy to abide with us as long as they’re able.)

We’ll toast 2017 with our Lord of The Ring goblets (seriously – they light up at the bottom!) And scribble down a short list of those habits we long to rid ourselves of on scraps of paper, tossing them into the fire with much ceremony and bright promise. Watching as each one smokes a bit, flares up, and burns hot; before crumpling into broken ash and whisking away.
And we’ll wish one another a Happy New Year. Promising all, promising ourselves, that 2017 will indeed shine. It will be a kinder year than its predecessor. Filled with peace and laughter, promises made and promises fulfilled.

Hmmm… perhaps that should be my word for this next year which rushes toward me so quickly: Promise. The promise of goals accomplished, days – long or short, enjoyed and observed. Of comfort and joy, beauty and learning, laughter, life, and – most especially – the blessing of only happy tears.

As we foot it, with a watchful, wide eyed hope only the faithful understand, into yet another blessed January. Month of Light.

A beacon, now casting back, now stretching ahead. Illuminating the glory of this New Year, and the joy we must believe it holds.
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