Greetings from my desk, where I am looking out on this wintery scene today while tackling some long overdue paperwork. Despite the chill outside, it’s cozy here with a hot cup of coffee and the good feeling of actually getting rid of some piles and reclaiming my desk surface.

Operation “Reclaim the Desk” started back in October, but I’m finding that now, between the years, I have the time to really get it done, namley weed through the piles! I love the phrase, “Between the Years.” Of course there is no such thing, as one year follows smack upon the next, and yet it seems to me that the time between the Christmas holiday and New Year’s is especially long. I always feel that there is extra time in that week. Usually, however, I find that there is no extra time and that New Year’s comes around way too fast.

But this year, I have actually found that time has slowed down. I’ve been getting stuff done around the house, and I’ve been thinking about plans and goals for the new year. Perhaps this is because for once I’m not traveling (last year I was in Alabama at Space Camp with my son, and years before I’d be in Germany for New Year’s to visit my ailing mother-in-law). So I’ll be sharing a few “Between the Year” posts on taking care of old stuff and thinking about the new.

It’s also been fun, as I’m sitting here dealing with the mundane task of paperwork, to be gazing out over the different treasures I have accumulated on my desk, which will still be there when the piles are gone. Many of them, I’ve realized, were gathered this year: the postcard featuring the Bund in Shanghai from my trip last March, in front of it the beer coaster from our visit to a brewery in Lafayette, Indiana, a sliver from a tree felled during July’s storm with the notecard of a friend’s painting tucked behind it, and behind that a file folder, also bought in Shanghai, then bottles with salt crystals from Death Valley and green earth from Arches National Park (that was last year’s road trip to the Southwest), and in front of them, bark and acorns from our property in Indiana. Oh, and perching on the pile of letters: a ceramic sculpture by my son. Such is the beloved mess on my desk…