This year is a bit upside down.  Winter came before the oak leaves came down in the form of a couple of early snowfalls and freezing temperatures.  Then came the rains that washed away the snow but left a brown landscape of dead leaves, bare trees and Christmas decorations.  In truth, this isn’t an unusual year for New England.  The weather always seems a little screwy.  But it just seems a bit more screwy than ever before.

“And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass”
                                                                  – Counting Crows, A Long December

Eventually when we hit December these Counting Crows lyrics run through my head at least a couple of times.  While my life isn’t as, uh, melancholy as this song, reflecting on the year and looking ahead with a measure of hope towards the new year are a rite of passage.  But 2018 has been a challenging year in many ways.  Too many great people passing away.  Too much Trump (any amount of Trump is too much).  Too much bad news about mass shootings and climate change and immigrants getting tear gassed and corporate greed.  Parents and pets getting older and having struggles along the way.  The nest is empty, and other empty nester friends are taking flight themselves.  No doubt, 2018 was challenging.

And yet, it’s been a great year in many ways.  Visits to interesting places near and far.  Quality moments with extraordinary people.  Better career opportunities for both Kris and me.  I’m doing more reading and writing and appreciating the things that make life great.  We’re appreciating time with Ian and Emily and watching them grow further into adulthood.  I’m doing my best to hold on to these moments as they pass.