The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Fresh Start

Saturday, December 31st, 2005 in Illinois
Fresh Start

I’ve adopted a new tradition for New Year’s Eve. It requires no reservations, no fancy dress, no cash advance. I don’t have to wrangle taxis or drink cheap champagne or go home smelling like an ash tray. No more trying to make a meal out of tepid hors d’oeuvres, cursing panty hose or tripping through snow in high heals.

What do I do? It’s simple really, I stay at home. Yes, that’s it folks, for the past few years (many years, who am I kidding) I’ve spent New Year’s Eve hiding from bedazzled crowds and dreadful weather. Not only do I not miss the whole New Year’s Eve party scene, I wish I had started this tradition years earlier.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to spend New Year’s Eve in the company of good friends and I’ve enjoyed a good majority of the New Year’s Eve celebrations I’ve attended. But after a while, those celebrations came at an ever increasing price, both financially and energetically speaking.

These days most people I know travel across county, country or state to spend time with family during the holidays. Or they, like me, have discovered the pure joy of ringing in the New Year at home.

So here’s what I do. In the late afternoon, I turn up the heat and curl up on the couch with a good book. This New Year’s Eve, I read Catherine Caufield’s In the Rainforest and find the bits on Indonesia’s Transmigration Program at once fascinating and deeply disturbing. Then about four-thirty, I make a wonderful meal. Something akin to a Christmas feast, only more creative. I have my dinner, follow it with a scruptious dessert, and watch television until the ball drops in Times Square. If I’m particularly energetic, I stay up an extra hour to cheer in Chicago’s New Year.

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Jackson Lake Lodge
Crossing Wyoming
We drove into Grand Teton National Park along Highway 26, a ribbon of pavement that bisects the Teton National Forest from east to west. This quiet road winds its way through the pass between Mount Leidy and Mount Randolph.
Woodcut at the Garden
Woodcut at the Garden
The weather today can only be described as wall-to-wall ICK with an occasional outbreak of YUCK and BLECH. The temperature climbed into the forties but it felt more like the twenties.
January Then
January Then
Just ten short days ago I thought autumn would last until March and that (further deluding myself) a mild-tempered March would give way to a sudden burst of vernal warmth.