A wish for the new year

Abandoned cranberry bog at Whitesbog in the Pine Barrens

“No year stands by itself, any more than any day stands alone. There is the continuity of all the years in the trees, the grass, even in the stones on the hilltops. Even in man. For time flows like water, eroding and building, shaping and ever flowing; and time is a part of us, not only our years, as we speak of them, but our lives, our thoughts. All our yesterdays are summarized in our now, and all the tomorrows are ours to shape.” – Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons

My friend Kathy and I went to Whitesbog yesterday hoping to see the Tundra Swans that winter there. We didn’t find any swans, nor did we find any sign of winter. The closest we came to any waterfowl were a few shed feathers – white – on the shoreline of one of the abandoned bogs about two miles into our walk. So the swans are there somewhere in that big emptiness. The Pine Barrens feel truly barren at this season; there is nothing but the wind and the sun, and yesterday, the company of a friend.
A more results-oriented person might say that we saw nothing yesterday in our six hours of wandering; because we didn’t see the swans we set out for, but I would disagree. Turkey vultures were our chaperones as we followed deer and raccoon tracks along the elevated dikes of the bogs and there was the play of sunlight on the tea-stained water of the bogs. We caught glimpses of the pygmy pine forest along one of the many roads that bisect the barrens and found pitcher plants amid the spaghum moss at Webbs Mill Bog. Even in this time of rest that should be winter but is not, even in this barren place there is beauty and promise for spring and the new year.
My wish at year’s end is that we shoud all find hope and beauty, even the unexpected, in the coming new year.

19 thoughts on “A wish for the new year”

  1. I always look foreward to your Hal Borland quotes, but Laura- you write so beautifully! Your words moved me tonight.

  2. Beautiful shot! It sounds like you had agreat day to me, one surrounded by beauty and nature. Happy New Years to you and your husband.

  3. Laura, I agree with Lynne. Your words are always wonderful but this post really moved me, too. I hope in 2007 you have a wonderful year and continue to write the way you do. We enjoy it so much.

  4. Ruth: Thanks – I’ve been trying to decide what those red plants are – I’m not sure that they’re cranberries.

    Laurie: Yes, sometimes fun is not so easy to measure.

    Happy New Year to you, bunnygirl!

    Lynne: Thanks!

    Naturewoman: Thank you.

    Jayne: It was a nice time, in a quiet sort of way – although we talked lots.

    Sandy: Thanks.

    Dave: The best to you also.

    Robin Andrea: I guess both are there if we can keep our eyes open. Happy New Year to you!

    Jenn: Thanks.

    Cathy: It helps to be in such a pretty place.

    Mary: You always say the nicest things – thanks!

    threecollie: Thanks – got snow yet?

    Pam in Tuscon: Thanks!

  5. Beautiful photo and words, Laura. Wishing you the same for the coming year. You mentioned wondering about the plants. I was thinking that it might be decodon verticillatus. It grows profusely in some watery places, forming islands, or spilling out from river banks. In autumn and into winter, has very red leaves. Sometimes, from far down a river, it can look almost like pink flames on the water. If you look at it up close, the branches curve out and down into the water where they will swell and form roots to begin new growth.

  6. Dear Laura,

    That bog photo is glorious. So are your thoughts. Thank you.
    Ilex verticillata (winterberry) is deciduous, but I think it sheds its leaves just to show off those amazing red fruits.

  7. Bev: Swamp loosestrife? That’s a new plant for me. So far I haven’t found a good image on the web that matches the red color in fall/winter season – it would be so much easier to know them if they were in bloom. Thanks for the lead – will check to see if I have any closeups that I can match with the images available on the web.

    Julie: Thanks for the info – think I may need to add this holly to the garden.

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