It feels strange to realize a new year is upon us. The first minutes of 2012 found me in my childhood home watching both New York and Chicago bid farewell to 2011. Lots of memories came to peek around the corners in my mind: flapping the mailbox lid up and down at midnight I had forgotten, but I could easily recall flipping the porch light off and on in tandem with the across-the-street neighbor. It was a kind of code, really, for “we are here, you are there, we see each other, and we can now begin another year.” Such was the some of the excitement of my youth.
But at this moment a few days into 2012, I’m sitting in O’Hare, returning to the East from the famous, or infamous, Calumet Region. I’ve refilled my remembrances of so many little houses all lined up in rows, each with a story to tell of who lived, worked, possibly raised a family, and died right here, doing whatever it took to make a living in those post-war times, yet also in the times of today. It’s a rich place to call home, a powerful mix of the industrial and human aspects of towns laid out in the shadow of the City of Big Shoulders, whose infrastructure has changed, yes, but in some ways, is still quite visible. Look up along the Lake and see the handprint of goods made and resources processed to serve the nation and the world.
And although not many blog posts were created over these holidays, I hope and believe the wells of the mind and soul were in-filled. Time now to return to the aspects of my other, current home: the job, the kids, the dog on the marsh, the places I try to make a small difference. I hope you are ready to face the challenges that come to us all and I hope I am, too. Each day is a gift and it’s still a miracle to me that the big bird will lift off the tarmac, dip its wing toward Lake Shore Drive, and fly up, over the Great Lakes, straight past the Finger Lakes (which was home for a time), bank that turn at the coastal edge and then land in the place I now call home. This is full of a different history and richness, and I realize that although the various places we live can seem quite distinct, they also share some things in common, if we make time to look twice. May there be peace in the New Year in all places.