Fat black sharpie in hand, I crossed off yesterday’s date on my calendar this morning, mentally ticking off the days until the new year. Just four to go. I thought briefly about the past year, about the big things that have happened, and wondered even more briefly what 2010 would hold. Usually, I just feel hopeful at the end of a year, this year, there’s a good bit more fear mixed in. A month or so ago, I met with a real estate agent, got a rough, non-official appraisal on my house, just in case I need to put it on the market this spring. I told myself then, as I do each time I tell this fact to someone, I’d rather sell my house than lose it. It’s true, but it makes me unspeakably sad. I don’t know that I had envisioned the step that came after this little Cape Cod house, but I feel confident it was never, ever, leave it before I lose it. Deciding it was too early for such dark thoughts; I poured another cup of coffee and headed for the couch.
The early darkness of winter makes me nuts and truth be told, a little sad. I don’t know that I’m one of those people that are truly affected by the lack of sunlight, but my spirits sure are. Yesterday morning, sick of just about everything, I shoved myself out the door to the gym, determined to chase the winter doldrums away. I took a new class, one whose ad has one of those perfectly sculpted females on it, and the slogan “Pressure makes diamonds.” This, to a different person, would have been a clue. In early November, I got a horrible cold, worst one I’ve had in years, knocked me back for a good 3 weeks. On Thanksgiving Day when I went to run the turkey trot, I hadn’t run a step in roughly 2.5 weeks. I had no grand hopes; and that turned out to be a very good thing. I ended that run a full 5 minutes slower than the year previous, but with a really cool shirt (purple, with a turkey on it!) and a flier for North Carolina’s newest marathon. I wore the shirt on Thanksgiving Day. I put the flier on my desk and looked at it nearly every day. A week or so ago, I pulled it out and mapped out a training schedule for the half-marathon. I am not mentally ready for school, work (I hope) and full marathon training; the half will have to do. The week starting tomorrow is week 1.
Twelve weeks from now, I hope to have been successful in consistently training for 13.1 miles. I hope 2010 looks better than it did early this morning. If I have put my house on the market I hope it’s because I cashed in a winning lottery ticket, and am moving to Belize, or perhaps, just because I got a job offer somewhere else and am moving by choice, not out of necessity and fear.
Someone told me a few weeks ago that those wooly bear caterpillars are predictors of winter weather, if they have a lot of brown and very little black it means that we are in for a hard winter. Curious about this I went looking for more information and discovered that right here in North Carolina (Banner Elk to be exact) there is actually a Wooly Worm Festival in which the highlight is a Wooly Worm race which ends with the Mayor pronouncing the winner (no doubt he has to pronounce it loudly to wake the spectators) and examining the caterpillar and declaring the winter weather forecast. However bizarre this information, there is some scientific research that backs this up. The one I was examining that day a few weeks ago was nearly all brown. Even without a mayor to pronounce it, it appears this winter is going to be long one. I suppose you can’t argue with a wooly bear caterpillar. So, I won’t. I will hope, just a little more this year than in years past, for a correspondingly brighter spring.