A few stubborn oaks cling to their leaves. Ice, north winds and temperatures in the 20s morning after morning have not managed to dislodge them.
Maybe they’re frozen on.
The shallow edges of puddles are laced with ice every morning. The turtles that bask on logs in the sun along the backwaters of the Trinity’s West Fork have disappeared, and only a few brave ducks ply the open waters in the middle of the stock tanks.
It’s winter in North Texas – certainly a far cry from what Minnesotans and Dakotans experience, but more than cold enough for those of us who hardily endure triple-digit heat in July.
Those are the long days, when you have to wrestle little ones to bed while the last shards of summer daylight still beckon at 9 p.m.
Now I find myself yawning at 7. Last Saturday was the winter solstice – the shortest day we’ll see this year. But it feels like it’ll be months before the sun begins tracking back to the north and light lingers past 6 p.m.
The fireworks stands along my way to work – including the big permanent one whose sign lies “NOW OPEN!” most of the year – are really all open now and doing a booming (ha!) business as people get ready to try and warm New Year’s Eve with pyrotechnics.
I hope they’re careful. I want the volunteer firefighters to be able to spend the evening with their families instead of putting out the fires of the foolish.
That’s one of many things I hope for. Hope, here at year’s end, is about the only thing that’s blooming.
Maybe that’s the root of resolution – we look around at a world that’s dormant, waiting out winter, we think about what we’ve done and what we could do better, and we hope for the coming year.
I have plenty of resolutions for myself, including the standard ones: lose a few pounds, floss more often, drink more water, exercise, smell even better.
I could get more personal – go into things like organization, punctuality, empathy, kindness and the like – but you’re likely not interested.
I’ll work on all that in the background while making a few resolutions for newsmakers we’ve known in ’13.
- For Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto: Get some help, and quit trying to be a leader when your own life is a train wreck.
- For Anthony Wiener, former congressman from New York and unsuccessful candidate for mayor of New York City: Ditto.
- For Texas Governor Rick Perry: Stop going around the country shooting off your mouth and making the federal government and most other states hate us even more than they already do.
- For Miley Cyrus: Stop taking whatever you’re taking that’s making you try to out-outrageous every other outrageous pseudosinger. Ick.
- For President Obama: Take a cue from Jack Nicholson’s character in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” when he tried to pick up the incredibly heavy water thingie in the shower room, and couldn’t, but yelled, “At least I tried!” as he walked away. Walk away from the failed health care plan and yell, “At least I tried!” at the Republicans whose only concern was to see that you failed. But really, walk away.
- For all the politicians running in the 2014 elections: Go for one term, and in that one term, do absolutely what’s best for the country. Even if you don’t get re-elected (and you probably won’t) at least you’ll be able to hold your heads up.
- For Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins: Be a good guy for once. Change your team’s name to something that doesn’t offend people. It’s a football team, for Pete’s sake. (Sorry, Pete!)
- For all those NBA teams with silly names, like the Memphis Grizzlies (because they moved from Vancouver), the Utah Jazz (because they moved from New Orleans) and yes, even the Los Angeles Lakers (because they moved from Minnesota): Take a tip from the Oklahoma City Thunder (who moved from Seattle) and name your team after something that actually connects with your community. Utah? Jazz? C’mon!
- For the Texas Rangers: The leash is getting short. If you’re going to keep trading my favorite players to other teams (Gentry, Kinsler, Murphy, Nathan, Pierzinski) you dang well better win with the guys you’re bringing in here.
- For the Dallas/Irving/Arlington Cowboys: Fire Jerry Jones. Period.
OK, here’s another personal one: Spend a lot less time watching, thinking about, talking about and caring about sports.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Bob Buckel is editorial director of the Messenger.