The solstice has passed and somehow the precipitation here is still sleet and rain; but the days are lengthening even if we can’t quite notice it yet, and we trust (hope and pray, rather) that snow will come. We spend enough of the year in mud—we are, in this part of the country, blessed with plenty of rainfall to feed the plants and keep the creeks running high and ensure our boots are always soiled—so we look forward to the stillness that a good snowpack brings, softening all the sharp edges and filling in the holes and making apparent the visits of all things with legs and footprints and making travel easier through a great big marshmallow world. For a few months, at least.
At year’s end, I suppose it is customary to reflect on what the year has brought us. That’s fine. For us, though, suffice to say we are happy to have a woodstove in the winter and cool creek water in the summer. It was another comfortable year keeping things in the vicinity of equilibrium.
In the vicinty? Sure, there are ups and downs. Take, for instance, this year’s experience with animals. We had a rat—yes, a rat, what is this, The Big City?—grace us with its presence, wreaking havoc upon the most inedible things in the yurt. Unfortunately we had to resort to poison.
But vermin can also be a blessing. Our mouse problem was addressed by a new member of our local community: Errol, an ermine (look up “ermine,” they are beautiful) took up residence in our shed while we were away for Thanksgiving and we have not trapped a mouse in the yurt since. Ermine are beautiful and sleek and voracious hunters. I encountered Errol in the shed one day—s/he poked out from behind a tub, I took a step back, they took a step forward, nearer me, and then slunk back and away and out of sight. I might say it’s a highlight of my year, for the rarity of sighting an ermine, and so close.
It really is the little things, if I’m hoping to end the year in cliches. And I’ve said nothing of the wider world around us, the state, this country, the global situation. I guess that’s fodder for another post.
We have an internet friend over in Maine who’s currently prepping to build a yurt in the spring (looking at you, Sandy, good luck!). And she’s not the only person we’ve heard from this year. Y’all are inspiring—you inspire optimism and hope, energy for making change, that little kick in the butt to keep on going in the new year.
The world seems awful sometimes, but there’s good people out there doing good things. Remember that. And get out there with them on the barricades.
Happy new year,
Kevin + Annie + Henry + Holly