Messy greenhouse office with plants, and twinkle lights.

Here we go, once more around the back side again, about to come out into the light.

There have been a lot of posts out there in the intertubes about the end of the decade, and asking folks what they’ve done this decade, or what has characterized it for them.

For me, this decade has brought a long-sought stabilization of my personal life, including finally building a life with a partner. He hates being written about, so I try not to, but if there’s anything that marks this decade it is having spent it with Himself. He’s a good man, and we’ve built an unconventional but reliable relationship that has brought us both great happiness.

There’s a funny thing that happened with time when Patrick died — it’s not that it stopped exactly, but my experience of it shifted from linear to circular time. When Patrick died, it felt in a very real way that my story had ended — our story certainly did. The story of how Charlotte and Patrick saved one another, that ended. But because I had washed up here, in this little house in this odd little town, my experience of time settled in, and became seasonal. Was it the garden? Or living so close to these huge wilderness areas? I’m not sure, but time now feels less about ambition, less about ticking off the boxes of accomplishment, and more about wondering whether the morels will come back in the spring, whether this year I can get peppers to ripen, when will the Sandhill cranes pack up in the valley for their journey south, when will the herds of cow and calf elk show up in the cabin yard? These have become the markers of my years.

And yet, these kids come back from LA and time has obviously passed. Knox, the “baby” is the same age as my relationship with Himself, which means that Knox is about to be taller than I am. The big girls are dealing with career choices and romantic involvements, while the twins are fifteen, and glorious, and so much cooler than all of us put together — So clearly linear time is still marching on.

Another decade, another year, another dark December nearly survived. There are twinkle lights and nativity sets all over the house. There’s a pile of presents in my office closet ready to wrap. There’s Hank-dog and Betty the cat and five chickens in the backyard. There are aging parents and growing kids and a book that is slowly, slowly coming into focus. So much content I’ve generated for this one over the years, and despite teaching and freelancing and struggling, as we all do, to find time, it’s coming along.

And starting tomorrow, the days will get just a tiny bit longer again every day. As once again, we come back out of the darkness, come back out to face another year, another set of goals and seasons and life that keeps, whether we want it to or not, keeps marching along ….

Merry merry to any of you still out there with a little subscribe button. I might start writing more regularly again. We’ll see — I’ve said it before, but I miss it. There are things I want to write about, books I’d like to discuss with all of you, thoughts on food and food writing to be thunk.

Here’s to the best of new years ahead for all of us. Onward, into the light.

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