Anne Horrigan Geary: New beginnings

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DALTON — "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind..." begins the well-known New Year's Eve anthem. The end of the old year is certainly a time to remember family and friends, especially the ones who are no longer near to us but always dear to us. It is also a time to reflect on past glories and triumphs, celebrations and joyous milestones. It is the time to give ourselves a hefty pat on the back for days well lived and jobs well done.

At the stroke of midnight all that changes. When the gorgeous crystal ball slides to the bottom of the pole, and Father Time vanishes in the moonlight, we begin a new day, a new year, and a new life.

Many of us are looking forward to a clean slate, a fresh start. After weeks of attempting (and occasionally succeeding) eating every canape and cookie in sight, washed down with a generous swallow of eggnog, most of us are looking forward to attacking a healthy green salad or fruit smoothie. Just remember to skip the romaine lettuce lest you start the new year visiting a health facility at a time when you had other plans.

Adding exercise or a fitness class to the days of January is always a good plan. I want to get back to doing tai chi, a regimen that I followed for many years and, sadly, let slide when I left my class behind in Harwich. I began 2019 with months of rehabilitative exercise due to my unexpected close encounter with a sidewalk. The added benefit of those hours of physical therapy is that I can now do some things I couldn't even do before. Watch me stand up without assistance, from any chair or sofa!

As we work to improve our bodies, let us not forget to spend some effort improving our mind and spirit. I'm looking forward to buying myself a handsome new journal because I still love to write by hand with some colorful pens and pencils. I enjoy reading poetry, and am often tempted to try my hand at versification. Most often, it's not fit to see the light of day; but the mental stimulation expended in the effort is a reward in itself.

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At its most basic, poetry is imagery plus emotion. If I learned anything from reading reams of Mary Oliver's work, it's that observing a moment in time, with input from all the senses, is a great way to start scribbling. It also forces one to notice physical surroundings in much more detail than the cursory look we often give them.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we had all better brush up on our civics lessons. We will need to read, listen, reflect, and — most importantly — vote in the coming year's elections. There is a very dark tide of anger and animosity swirling around us, but we must stand our ground and buttress our dikes to withstand the assault.

On a happier note, we have many positive things to anticipate in 2020. Perfect eyesight? One can only hope. Realistically, we will have new plants to grow in our perfectly-weeded gardens, and new craft beer and locally-grown food to enjoy with new friends and acquaintances. We will explore the wonders of nature in exotic places and our own beautiful Berkshire hills. We will turn our backs on single-use plastic bags, and celebrate our commitment to improving the health of our planet.

And to share the writing style of Ms. Lucy Van Pelt, we will have a very, very, very, very, very, very, very Happy New Year.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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