Starting the New Year sick, Re-reading The Great Gatsby, and a winter hike

When I sat down with my planner on New Year’s Eve to set up my calendar for 2022, I also took the time to review the goals I had set for 2021.  Last year, I had set several goals and a couple of them included completing a set number of hikes and a set number of blog posts.  I exceeded my goals on both and in what I thought might be a bit of a happy omen, both those goals were exceeded by completing the same number: 22.  I went on 22 hikes last year and published 22 blog posts.  I excitedly called this number to my husband’s attention and declared that it meant that there were good things in store for the year 2022.

My excitement didn’t last long.  On January 1st, my husband began to experience some cold-like symptoms.  He tested positive for covid a couple of days later, the same day that I began to also experience some symptoms.  So 2022 didn’t exactly begin on the high note that we would have liked, but we are grateful to have had illness that we could manage at home and that passed quickly enough.  We know people who have not been so lucky in their experiences with this particular virus so we have absolutely no right to complain, but still when you are in the throes of being sick, it stinks and it zapped all the positive energy we had at first coming into the New Year.    

Couple being sick with our first snow event of the winter, and the first few weeks of 2022 have mostly been spent hunkering down inside our house, eating soup, and watching too much TV.  So much for positive omens about the number 22.

But really, even if we started 2022 with more of a whimper than a shout, we still have much to look forward to and still plenty of time to attack all those goals for 2022.

After re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird last year, I decided to re-visit a few more classics from school and the other day I began to re-read The Great Gatsby and thus far have been immensely enjoying it as a before bed read.

I was struck by this line as a bit of a “familiar conviction that life was beginning over again” with the start of a new year, and my husband and I being ready to get out of the house again after bad weather and illness:

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees—Just as things grow in fast movies—I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.  There was so much to read for one thing and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air”.

Much to read indeed as a new year is upon us.  But isn’t that always true? 

Also, on a related tangent, as I read the opening preface analyzing Fitzgerald’s work, I came across this line: “The Twenties were not a ten-year binge during which everybody got rich and danced the Charleston in speakeasies while drinking bootleg hooch”.

That line immediately reminded me of a scene from Frasier where Roz has joined a book club, but wasn’t able to read The Great Gatsby and frantically asks Frasier to give her a synopsis.  He rattles off almost verbatim the exact line above to describe “The Jazz Age”.

So, sorry Frasier, but the lit scholar who wrote the forward to my copy of Gatsby disagrees with you.  Also, I might watch entirely too much Frasier.

Yesterday, we took advantage of a break in the weather and our new-found appreciation for our health, and ventured out on my first hike of 2022.  I would have liked for it to have happened long before the 23rd, but better late than never.  It was an especially muddy and icy hike along the trails in our local state park and we were able to do a little over 4 miles.  I captured a few pictures of the cracking ice formations along the trail, including the one below that looks a little like a giant heart on the trail.  Winter is still my least favorite season, but there’s no denying that it brings its own forms of beauty if we just look for it.

So here’s to looking ahead into 2022 with that old “familiar conviction that life is beginning again” and to having much to read and much “fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air”.

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