My neighboring uncle's garden produced Swiss chard and other vegetables a calendar year ago, but now a year later our properties are buried under up to 20 inches of snow. 2007 arrived hot and is waning cold.
2007 brought me great turbulence, change, excitement, freedom, and opportunity. My varied employment fueled the fun where I started working on a world-class writing team only to be laid off mid-year that released me to an unstructured lifestyle. The constants were unchanged - faith, family, love of writing, photography, and New Hampshire.
Freedom allowed me to immerse myself into New York City to experience the city from ground-level. And I met and walked briefly with a wonderful woman and her family until time and circumstances gently set us on a separate course.
My soccer team delighted me when they were not exasperating. My niece and several other players graduated from daisy-pickers and cart-wheelers into soccer players with drive, vision, and a shared passion for the game. The player's character grew in my mind's eye only to be corrected at the pizza party when things were right-sized when they stood next to video games and pool tables in the cramped game room of a local pizza house.
As you might suspect, girls and their motives often confuse me, but I knew that unity and a feeling of togetherness were key. So we played a season long name game eternally deciding whether we were the 'Purple Grapes', 'Purple Fighting Fish', Purple Doritos', or 'Purple Pumpernickel Breads'. (The last entry was mine - serving to motivate creativity and passion.)
The name game exceeded soccer in some ways because weeks after the season one of my younger players approached me with all seriousness, 'Coach Tim. Really, next year I don't want to be the Purple Fighting Fish. Really, we need to be the Purple Tigers because that's a superior name.'
I am so lucky to have the privilege to coach our youth.
Through my contacts in the soccer program, I found a job in the office of a high-end indoor pool construction and service company. I learned how to use a CAD application and I tried my hand at designing indoor pools. A sketch of an Oforu, or a Japanese soaking tub, may become reality someday.
While I worked this job, we had a family get-together at my house - mostly to introduce my girlfriend (at the time) and her children to my family. She and her daughter joined my nieces and my dad on a walk to the brook. My eldest and youngest nieces returned first - crying. Bees somehow stung them and we quickly scurried to soothe their wounds.
The others returned. My middle niece started screaming as a bee nestled in her clothing suddenly stung. And finally, my girlfriend's daughter started shrieking as a bee moved up inside her shirt and stung her. So the sobbing, sniffling girls assembled neatly into rows of pairs in my kitchen. Their striking blond hair framing tear reddened eyes and sniffling noses. Their mothers clucked like mother hens over their stings - doling out ice packs and empathy.
I watched devoid of my camera and soaked in the Rockwell moment in my very kitchen.
As the year closes, I heeded the call of tech writing opportunity and I agreed to work for a computer hardware company starting on January 2, 2008. I have read so often that a layoff is a wonderful reset for one's life and profession. The mind-numbing silence of sitting around for days and weeks unemployed lets us determine what our true loves are.
And for myself, I always find that writing is central and core to me. Tech writing fits and I look forward to returning to my first love.
So to close my last post of the year, I'll throw some tidbits out.
I earned $75 for a photo sold to a publisher of a NH Travel book.
I edited a friend's published work and I started editing Laura Bloch-Bourque's memoir to fulfill a long-standing dream of starting a small editing business.
I saw 11 deer while hunting - a record for one season of hunting NH. I shot at a doe, but missed.
Unintentionally, I killed four turkeys with one shot. The State of NH fined me and I lost my hunting privilege for a year (possibly reduced to 8 months, I hope).
I raised 18 broiler chicks. 12 for my friend and 6 for my freezer.
I raised 7 laying chickens - 6 laying hens and a rooster - to go with a pair of older roosters. In the last couple of days, a predator killed four layers and the old rooster. (One older rooster was gone long ago.) Three left.
My roommate found employment in Worcester and his presence helped quell the solitude of living alone. His heart is in Minnesota and will happily return next year - hopefully richer for his experience here.
I am continuing to date for no other reason than I feel secure and emotionally ready. Who knew that I would be in my early to mid 30s before I arrived at this juncture in life?
Outside my window, I see snow covering the hill between my uncle's house and mine. The beauty is not well captured in a photo - the even grey tones bleed into the faintest green hue of the evergreen. The overcast skies strain to blush blue. The weathered split rail fence leads to a maple tree that is budding unseen from my vantage point.
The staid beauty here makes me reflect on Brooklyn and the scintillating sense of freedom that I felt there. I wonder that with a companion, could I live a vagabond life and let the wind toss me away on my easy tether to New Hampshire?