A Whole New Year Offers Hope, Renewal

Western Ag Vignettes

Welcome 2013 with open mind.

Published on: January 4, 2013

Maybe it is because I mess up so often, but I really like clean slates, new beginnings and a fresh chance to set records straight.

Ergo, I am a fan of the school of thought that says Jan. 1 wipes slates clean and presents me with an unused canvas on which to paint my self-portrait.

One wonders, this one does, what it's all about. Is my life meaning anything at all, or am I just a speck of cosmic dust drifting meaninglessly?

Counting my blessings, I conclude that I am indeed living a valuable life, if for no other reason because I am loved by family that depends on me for much. That alone, albeit somewhat provincial, empowers me to feel more like a blazing comet on the screen of time.

Like Jack London, I know my comet glitters and then darkly dies into the oblivious. But then consider the impact of London, and how many his stories are still read by so many in awe, and know comets are good to be.

I also am a resolution-maker. I WILL lose weight. I WILL do more random acts of kindness. I WILL meet deadlines. I WILL no longer depend on Spellcheck only! I WILL walk the dog more often. I WILL pay off my VISA.

That pretty well fills up the Jan. 1 blank page with a lot of frightening promises I WILL NOT keep for the most part. I do play a lot with the dog on the living room floor, after all.

What 2013 will bring is unknown, and with the news events of late 2012 still ringing in my memories, I am concerned while optimistic. Are there cruel new heartbreaks lingering in the wings of the new year for us all, or will they cure cancer, perfect cold fusion and end hunger and homelessness forever?

That's the wonder of clean slates. While we might worry about the evil lurks, we can also marvel at the potential for great news. Each page can turn up a villain or a hero, and normally does. What we have to do is know both are possibilities for mankind. And womankind.

When I look back over the decades of my life, I am happy for the revolutions. Racism and sexism have taken hard hits, communications has evolved unimaginably, and Elvis changed music pretty dramatically.

On the downside, skyscrapers fell like teardrops in Manhattan, soldiers died abroad, children were slaughtered and war continued to rage, to maintain history's record that for all but about 300 years of our history, a war was being fought somewhere in the world.

I asked my mom, who lived to be about 100 when she passed years ago, what she thought was the most wonderful change in her lifetime. Her answer: airplanes that fly so fast they get me to my grandchildren quicker.

I was recently asked the same question, and I answered: the internet.

I  know that's a little pedestrian, but when I consider how it has changed lives, I remain firm in my reply.

After all, you are reading this.