The first day of the New Year began with a clean slate – a 300-page spiral-bound notebook completely empty.

Each year as I begin my new journal, I wonder what all the blank pages will hold as the year progresses. Yes, I have lots of plans, and dates will soon be penciled in for an annual trip to the Greenville area, Manhattan, the film festival in Waterville, and this year, to Washington, D.C.

But these things are all tentative, for we really don’t know what the coming days, weeks and months will bring.

We do know, however, what happened during the past 12 months, and the first day of the year provides a chance to review and reflect, to discover which goals were met, those that weren’t and the surprises we never would have suspected.

I’m glad we have this day to be with our thoughts to think about the previous year and to plan for the coming one. It’s a great chance to pause and reflect and to decide what improvements we’ll make in our lives, and to be thankful for what we have experienced, for good or bad, because regardless of what happened during the previous year, we made it through to 2008, and we have a whole new chance to try again.

My journal records my daily thoughts, accomplishments, shortcomings, hopes, and emotions. It also keeps track of my garden, our finances, the special events that occur, both planned and unplanned, and the movies and DVDs that I’ve seen.

Too many British movies and not enough French? Loved that Hungarian one, and this little independent flick was really outstanding and never got a fair chance in the movie theaters.

On a more practical note, some of 2007’s house goals were met nicely, like the truly expensive new septic system with a leach field that looks for all the world like a park in the woods behind the house. Although we’ll be paying for it for the next three years, there was a bonus – the maples and beech that were cut to make way for it yielded between four and five cords of wood for next winter’s cold weather.

We also successfully transplanted two oaks to the front, and continued bush-hogging, as part of my lifelong goal to clear what once was a field that allowed a gorgeous view of Mount Blue out the back.

We failed to repaint the garden shed and to clean up and burn some of the brush, so that will be on the first divider page of my 2008 journal as a goal.

Personally, I didn’t do so well, and as with so many people, two of my attempts each year are to lose weight, something that gets harder as I get older, and increase my exercise through more frequent walks, didn’t make it. So, those, too, will be at the top of my personal list.

Pleasant surprises were numerous – our first grandchild appeared, a sweet little girl with the most endearing smile who lives more than 1,000 miles away.

I found that I loved geese and now have a small flock. They were supposed to be chickens, critters that at least slightly pay their own way by presenting us with fresh eggs every so often. But I have discovered that these geese give me more pleasure through their antics, honking and stance than I ever could have imagined.

Hopefully, chickens will arrive in the spring.

Surprise visits by cousins and dear friends from out-of-state were a joy. Such visits or other contacts from relatives and friends are becoming more frequent, again, I think, because we are all getting older and we want to make sure we are connected or reconnected.

Sadly, the past year was the end of life for several friends, relatives and acquaintances. But new babies were born, weddings performed, and graduations experienced. The cycle of life continued, as it always does.

Several pages are devoted to my garden, showing what was planted and when, when it rained too much or not enough, and the times the potato beetles and squash bugs, along with the deer, decided to make a meal on my lovingly planted vegetables.

The end of each year’s gardening entries includes plans for improvement for the next season, and soon, I’ll be ordering seeds and drawing a garden design on graph paper.

I think 2007 was a pretty good year personally and I do look forward to 2008. Each year has its own personality, successes and failures.

Those blank pages will soon fill up, the dividers between each section will also be filled with movies seen, visits made, and adventures and sorrows experienced.

I am both anxious and at peace for the future months to arrive.

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