Billings: New snow and a new year

Ah….snow, glorious snow…..all I can say is that we need the moisture. Other than that…..for me…it isn’t that great. Makes it much more difficult to do things on the ranch. Already this season, I have fallen twice… now courtesy of a dear friend, I have a pair of “Yak Traks.” They are great. I know for all you skiers, this snow is a blessing. We all have a different perspective. And isn’t that a marvelous thing. We have so many differences, but we are united by what we have in common. And that makes it all worthwhile.
We have survived the end of the Mayan Calendar, the winter solstice….and the fiscal cliff… we will survive…and thrive….it is all in the attitude…..yours! And mine, of course. 2012 has been a very unique year, to say the least. However, 2013 will be better. Using the knowledge of the past year to support and nourish us in the New Year. That’s pretty heavy from a psychological standpoint. But I feel it is true. Challenges are always a blessing in disguise. One of my favorite quotes is “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
This New Year’s Eve out in the pasture…while cold, it was truly a beautiful night. The horses were all standing around me…as if in conversation. And we were. Discussing the New Year and the things we are going to do. It was a magical night. At last check early in morning, after midnight, it was 5 degrees. Cold and clear. Gave the horses a bit of hay in their bins… warm their bellies. It’s the Jewish mother in me.
For me, the New Year always arrives when the ball drops in New York City…having been born there…and also having experienced one New Year’s in Times Square. When you are young, it seems like a good thing to do…now thinking back on that night….it was crazy…something that I would never do again….but then I must be in the minority, since about one million people stand around in the cold, are entertained….and wait for the ball to drop. A ritual…I think back on the New Year’s when I was young and my parents used to have parties. Bagels, lox, kippers and, I think, champagne. What did I know when I was 10. So many years ago…. a bit nostalgic for me, thinking about my family and our traditions. After all, all families have their traditions. I do with my horses now. My brother, on the other hand, back in North Carolina….has two daughters and five grandchildren. How different our lives are. And from the same parents. Go figure.
I want to talk about the environment. There are still many who don’t believe in the concept of climate change. They think that the hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere is a lot of bunk. The celebration of Earth Day has been around since 1970…..These same people don’t think that the number of cars and trucks and the use of fossil fuels has anything to do with climate change. No amount of scientific evidence will convince them….kind of like the inability to compromise in Congress. Their own self-interests are what motivate them. They are not thinking of the people….they are not thinking of us.
Climate change…..what about our Spring drought….and now these frigid temperatures. Back to the moisture we need…but give us a break. A warm up….they promise us that for the end of this week. Enough is enough….I have always considered that by the first of the year…we are over the hump of winter…at least we are on the way up…Well, actually, after the winter solstice, the days, meaning daylight, do start to get longer. However, still, January, February and March can be very cold…hopefully not this cold. So don’t tell me that there is no such thing as climate change.
Just a simple example….when I first moved here…almost 20 years ago, I used to ride a lot in the winter. The last few years….one doesn’t know if there is ice under the snow….so you can’t ride…..Climate change….Cold and irregular winters…frigid temps. It was just zero degrees at the barn a bit ago. Maybe if I tried hard enough I could say it was almost 1 degree.
So once again, a new chapter begins with the “dropping of the ball.” I am grateful for the many lessons of 2012. And of course, I am grateful for what is most important to me—my equines. From all of us at Thunder Heart Haven, my equine sanctuary….I am thankful for my family and friends who bring such blessings, love, joy and positive energy into my life. A blessed 2013 to you!

Alice Billings is a resident of Ridgway, Colorado, a painter, an artist, an author and friend to animals everywhere.