Our farm woke up to a new year this morning like we were the scene in our own little snowglobe. Some of us were happier about it than others. The happiness lines were clearly drawn between "those who are allowed to sit inside by the fireplace" vs. "those who are outside being snowed on." All non-aviary bipeds (including the wallaby) and dog were on the side of pro-snow, everyone else was patently in the anti-snow camp.
It's impossible to convince an animal that the fact they're cold is not your fault. I can't sit down with the goats and say, "I determine almost every aspect of your life - food, water, schedule, health care, location, even to whom and when you breed - but NOT the cold flakes raining down on your head right now."
So, we have snow, and the goats are all mad at me about it, which makes perfect sense. They make sure I know they're not happy about the situation by alternating between yelling at and ignoring me. I went outside to break the ice on the water tank and take out another bale of hay, and not a single goat wanted a head scratch. Brutal.
The snow, though, felt like such a relief. It's the first real snow for us this season, and we were all starting to worry it would never come. This year was the latest first snow since the 1930s. Since our whole lives are run by precipitation, and our house is on a well, the lack of snowfall was becoming a real stressor. According to the Farmer's Almanac, we're supposed to make up for the slow start to the snow with high volume for the rest of the season, but that remains to be seen.
This is a snowy end to one of Colorado's most challenging weeks - an unprecedented wildfire, both in terms of timing and devastation, ripped through several of our neighboring communities on Thursday and early Friday morning. It was like a final middle finger from 2021 as it left the building.
This snow is a mostly welcome development on the heels of Colorado's most damaging wildfire. We desperately needed the moisture—the combination of strong winds and parched grass made for an absolutely perfect firestorm earlier this week. But now, many of the houses in the fire area that didn't burn don't yet have their gas service back, so they're without heat and scrambling to keep the water pipes from bursting in the storm. Of course.
At least in Colorado, the end of 2021 was especially devastating. Thursday night, the night I would usually have written this piece, I spent stress-watching the news, wiping ash off the trucks, walking out to the back deck to check the wind and eerie glow on the horizon, and looking at the map as to the different routes the fire could take - like so many of us. I didn't fall asleep until the wind finally died down.
Having a devastating fire so close is a horrifically clarifying event. All of a sudden, worries about New Year's resolutions are replaced with practical concerns, "Are the tires on the trailer filled?" "Where are our birth certificates?" "When was the last time we filmed the contents of the house and outbuildings?" We watched in horror as embers rained down on our neighbors.
My New Year's resolutions before this have usually fallen into two categories: health and productivity. But drinking more water and stretching or finally getting the to-do list under control seems to fade from importance when you're looking out into a field of goats, mentally ranking them in a "first to save" down to "open the gates and hope for the best if there is no other choice" spectrum.
Colorado and this weeks' events aside, 2021 was far too hard on far too many of us. I normally start a new year with two weeks of gym attendance followed by eight months of auto-drafting gym membership fees from my bank account until finally getting up the nerve to cancel and admit defeat. Even such an act of optimism seems like a stretch this year.
Maybe in 2022, I don't need to resolve everything at once, or even right now. Perhaps it's just ok this year to simply show up at all. If there was any year to slowly ease into a better season, this is it. 2022 isn't a "headfirst off the diving board" year; this is a "dip a toe in and don't touch anything yet" year.
A lack of resolution can itself be a one of sorts. I guess I resolve to be gentler and extend myself some grace. That's about as far as I'm getting today.
So, this year I resolve just to be here. That's it.
The me who sometimes moves straight from coffee time to wine hour and doesn't always get any water in between is here. Me, who is probably still paying a gym from my New Year's resolution two years ago when everything was shiny and bright, is here.
It's a New Year, and I'm here, as I am, angry goats and all. Don't touch anything yet. Let's see how this all shakes out first.
If you want to help the victims of Colorado's devastating wildfires this week, here are some funds I trust: