Looking Back

By SARAH HATFIELD

You should end a year with good company, great memories and laughter. You should welcome the next one the same way. This actually applies to any moment, not just year’s end. Of course, there are a lot of “shoulds” that we don’t do. But we know we should, and sometimes that is enough.

Speaking of enough. That is what I wish you for the coming year. Enough. For those of you on Facebook, you may have seen the post that inspired this article. For those that aren’t, awesome. Eschew technology; it makes for a richer life, albeit a less connected one.

Enough. I wish you enough. The post on Facebook says this: “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hellos to get through the final goodbye.”

As I write this on the last day of 2013, I have ended the year in extraordinary company. They are not just my co-workers, but the volunteers who give so generously of their time, the partners with whom we’ve just completed a fantastic event, and their families. I work with a group of people who are energetic, hard-working, always striving to improve themselves, fun, surprising and unique. It is enough.

Standing on the ice, chopping through it, trying to recover a microphone cable, I was smiling, laughing and warm. Watching a co-worker balance on the ice pulling power cords from under the pond with muck filled boots, we were both laughing. Assisting the volunteers loading and unloading equipment from the wagon, we were all smiling. The company was top notch and at each moment, I wanted to be nowhere else in the world. It was enough.

But, that which made those peak moments of 2013 enough, were the other moments. The moment when a dear friend lost his battle with cancer. The moment broken children entered my home as foster children, torn from their life and thrust into mine. The funeral of a friend’s grandmother. The many moments when I worried and fretted over my father’s ailment and my mother’s surgery. Enough.

Then the agony of the inconsequential moments often takes center stage the need for a new roof without the finances to purchase it; the state of the economy and the increased pressure at work; the presence of a mink in the henhouse; a flooded basement. Enough.

Yet at some point reality descends, the truly valuable appears through the haze of chaos and a deep breath restores balance. I am alive, housed, clothed, loved, employed and healthy, and so is my family. Breathe. Smile. Say thank you. Enough.

In similar fashion, other inconsequential moments repair the damage of those previous – a Snowy Owl (or two), a remarkable last weekend of Winter Night Lights; a restorative vacation; sharing a snack with a remarkable young lady; the perfect Christmas gift. All is well, calm and bright. And enough.

The lake effect snowstorm is creating a snowglobe of the world outside my window. It is my favorite winter moment. The snowflakes go every direction at once. Like moths at a lantern, they know their own paths, but not their fate; content in the journey, in the moment, with no destination in mind. It is enough.

A laugh is like that. It floats from one heart to another, landing on lips and in eyes in its journey, making the world better in its path. It is enough, carrying with it all of the “enoughs” happiness, pain, gain, loss, highs, lows, sun, rain, hellos and goodbyes.

I wish you enough this year. Enough snowflakes and sunshine, storms and darkness, and all they represent. Find a moment and find its heart; seek the happiness in the agony, the gain in the loss, the laughter through the tears. It is there. It is always there.

Happy New Year.

Audubon trails are open for many moments, from dawn to dusk. The Center is open from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, and 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. Visit jamestownaudubon.org or call 569-2345 for more information on Audubon happenings and events.

Sarah Hatfield is a naturalist at Audubon.