Boxing Up the Year. And Hiding it in a Dark Closet.

I know, I know. Everyone does a year in review post. But why not review a year that by almost everyone’s account was one of the crappiest ever on record? A sort of celebration of what’s–thank goodness–over. We made it!

2011–get thee behind me!

They say that bad things come in threes. Which means if you have two bad things happen, you either cower under the threat of the third thing or you do some imaginative thinking about an event that was sort of bad that you can claim was the third thing and pretend you’re safe.

This year, I can claim with authority my three very bad things with no creative fudging whatsoever:

  1. My partner, H, had a stroke. It turned out to be a minor one, but that’s relatively unimportant when you’re heading down the road in -15 degree temps at 2am worried that a person you love might be dead before you get there. And when you’re not married to that person, and you can’t get hold of the relatives, the hospital isn’t particularly forthcoming with details.
  2. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Again, the initial terror that someone you love (mom, no less) might die is a biggie. I was able to be there for the surgery and to help out a little in the week that followed–to be among family was a great comfort.
  3. Someone tried to burn down the house I was renting. While I lost a great deal of stuff, I think maybe the previous not-good, very-bad events gave me a little perspective on what was really important–no one was physically injured. But I’m still dealing with the aftermath of that loss and mess.

There were plenty of other crappy happenings in 2011. The ex moved our son again–right before school started and with about two weeks notice. I also lost a friend and mentor right at the tail end of this year–visitation at the funeral home last night.

But there were also some good things–even coming out of the bad. I saw my folks twice this year (once for the aforementioned surgery); I bought a home after the fire at the rental place. Friends welcomed me in-between homes and I managed to can a few hundred pounds of tomatoes raised in my gardens during my stay with them. Despite the difficulty of the abrupt move, M is starting to adjust and has access to activities he likes.

On the work front, we managed to make some good progress at the Clinton Kitchen and with local foods in the Big Stone County region. In the wider world, the people stood up and protested in defense of their rights–from Madison, Wisconsin to Tahrir Square.

Big Ag and Big Food keep screwing up the seed, soil, and food supply–not good, but it has gotten to the point that more and more people have a healthy distrust of monopoly and manipulation. More and more people are thinking about their food and connecting with local farmers to get the good stuff. And more and more young people are getting into sustainable ag enterprises.

So, altogether 2011 was a pretty unpleasant and disreputable year on all sorts of fronts. But maybe it doesn’t deserve to be sealed up and hidden away–the lessons of those difficulties and tragedies are important to keep with us as we move into 2012.

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