Life in a Northern Town

December 31st, 2012

It was a good last day of 2012. We did it all: skiing, hiking, warming up in the hot tub and sauna, sending wish lanterns into the night sky, eating, drinking and making merry. Since the moon was void of course, we decided it would be best to hold off on any declarations of intentions until today after 11:30— it freed up a lot of time for additional eating, drinking and merriment. It was a record for me, dinner didn't hit the table until 10:52. At least it wasn't 11 o'clock, that's way too late for dinner. On the upside, we were all wide awake and full when we headed outside to light the wish lanterns in the sub-zero temperatures.

I know I've said it before but, isn't George such a handsome dog?? He had a blast running up and down the sugarbush trail and struck this pose as were headed back to the ski hill. I think in a previous life, he was definitely a movie star.

Meg is a fearless  and joyful skier (unlike her mother), she literally had a smile on her face the whole way down the hill. I can't believe how competent she has become in just a few short years.

Of course, we had sparkling wine and Rack and Riddle Blanc de Noirs is one of my favorites. It's made from primarily Pinot Noir grapes and is the most beautiful color of pink. It's more subtle (like French champagne) than most moderately priced California sparkling wine I've tasted— it's nicely balanced with citrusy and subtle wild strawberry flavors.

I was at Andy's buying snacks for the kids and saw Old Dutch puff corn was on sale. I knew exactly what to do— make a heap of caramel corn and try to restrain myself from eating the whole pile (good practice for the dietary austerity measures headed my way in 2013). While it's not the most fancy caramel corn I've eaten, it's got everything I need: sweet, salty and crunchy. I sprinkled a little Maldon sea salt on the caramel corn as it was cooling— nothing like gilding the lily, right? If your 2013 dietary plan allows some room for caramel corn, here's the recipe (link here), it's seriously good stuff.

After dinner, we bundled up and went outside to send off five (not four, I'm not a fan of even numbers) wish lanterns to welcome 2013. We couldn't have asked for a better night— it was calm, the moon was shining brightly and the stars were blanketing the night sky. At midnight, amid the fireworks a neighbor set off, a pack of coyotes welcomed in the new year with yips and howls, it was pure magic. Of course, I put the dogs inside after the serenade was over, better safe than sorry with my wild life unsavvy pack.

2012 taught me a number of lessons but the most powerful one, and one I'm carrying into 2013, was mindfulness (and conversely, mindlessness). I've learned to let what needs to go, go and to allow what needs to come in, come in. Sounds pretty simple but turning off my monkey brain has been, and continues to be, a challenge. Those moments when I'm taking my own advice and truly existing only in the present moment are enough to inspire me to keep practicing.

When I hiked to the sugarbush yesterday morning, I practiced listening to the trees, hearing the wind and watching George joyfully bound up and down the trail. It amazed me how easy it was to become an open conduit for contentment when I kept my focus soft, listened to the quiet voice inside me and felt the blessings of my life. 2013 holds such promise and I can't wait to see where it takes me.

As usual, Mary Oliver had just the right words for my hopes for 2013. She had a dog named Percy and she asked him the simple question, 'how should I live my life'? Of course, a dog would know just what to say.

I Ask Percy How I Should Live My LifeMary Oliver

Love, love, love, says Percy. And hurry as fast as you can along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep. Give up your body heat, your beating heart. Then, trust.