It Was a Very Good Year

When I was fifty eight…

No, I’ll stifle my first impulse to write my own verse to this old song. But I have given no small thought and reflection here lately to the events of the past year–remembering mostly while driving, my mind wandering its own roads with hands on autopilot.

I’ll spare you the long list of personal victories and defeats of 2006, but say only that thankfully there seem to have been more of the former than the latter. I suppose it is no great surprise that the most tangible goal accomplished, a material embodiment of a resolution kept, is the book. Most everything in it was already written this time last year, but getting it finally done, between covers and delivered is certainly one large milestone on the greater sweep of recent years.

We look back on things accomplished now and realize, had we not done that then (like undertaking the restoration of this old house, for instance, when we were 51) we never would have been able to pull it off today. Portals of possibility open briefly, and we step through them, or hang back, and the die is cast.

What windows to potential change for the better will come along in 2007? And will we be receptive, responsive, and willing to do what it takes to make them realities?

But now the days grow short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year


About fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

One comment:

  1. A nice reflection on the past year. I have had a good year, too. Started my blog, got my dog, and a number of other good things. Happy New Year!

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