We are entering a new year and I think many of us are more than happy to see the back of 2017. So here’s to new beginnings. After weeks of recovery work from the devastating Sonoma fires, it looks like Mother Nature is taking the reins. Walking in our woods, I noticed that some of the most scorched areas of our rancho are sprouting a record number of Zigadenus fremontii, also known as the Chaparral Star Lily. While Zigadenus is one of California’s most beautiful wildflowers, it’s worth noting that all parts of this plant are deadly poisonous. There is a metaphor there somewhere. I’m not sure I want to parse it.

Instead, I’ll focus on some resolutions. Yes, I am a resolute resolution maker. Do I always fulfill them? Seldom, but it’s always fun to make them and think this time I really will. So here goes, the good, the important and the just plain silly.

1. Work up to an epic hike. I should give some backstory here. I’ve always regretted that when I was younger I didn’t do some extreme physical challenge like through hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or nailing a couple of Colorado’s Fourteeners. Although Grandma Gatewood, in her Sixties, taught us all about through-hiking before it was even a thing, somehow I don’t think I’ll be that groundbreaker. So I’m searching for a hike that is just epic enough, but that is doable for me with some training and that doesn’t involve sleeping on the ground. Okay, I realize that last condition kind of limits the possibilities. But baby steps. Baby steps. My planned Spring roadtrip is to Texas’s Big Bend National Park. Maybe I’ll find my hike there.

I did do the Angel’s Landing trail in Zion National Park which gains 1500 feet in about two miles? But I still wouldn’t call this an extreme physical challenge.

2. Of course, the resolution above presumes I have to get back in shape, start running and hiking again, and eat better. So yeah, there’s also that.

3. For several years now, I’ve had an unofficial goal to hit all the National Parks west of the Mississippi. I’ve made some good headway, especially since I got my tiny camper van, Buffalo Soldier, which lets me stay in parks and closer to the trailheads. Still there are some amazing misses. How could I have lived in California for decades and never once touched Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks? Especially when I’ve made the effort to get to the nation’s least visited National Park, Nevada’s Great Basin. So onward with that effort.

Then I get this from my brother. A customized stretched canvas antique map with pins to mark my conquests. I didn’t have the National Forests on my agenda, but I guess now I need to add them.

4. Here’s a fun one. One night I was lying awake worrying about the state of the world and musing that I really just needed to murder someone. Then it came to me in a flash. Who should be murdered, who would do it, how it would be done, and who the sleuth would be. And no, none of this is what or who you think it would be. Anyway, I’ve armed myself with mysteries, how to books and am eying a community college course in mystery writing. I’m already working out dialogue. Stay tuned

5. #RESIST more. Because, of course, we have to. I’m trying to figure out how to weaponize my little camper, Buffalo Soldier, in this fight. Because I’m loving how Flippable and Indivisible groups are encouraging those of us in safe Blue districts to virtually phone bank into contested Red areas. But I think I would get a lot of personal satisfaction by driving over to Devon Nunes’s district and personally pounding the pavements to get his corrupt ass thrown out. Have camper and Instant Pot. Will travel.

Of course, there are so many more resolutions I could add to the list. But I realize a lot of these goals involve sub-resolutions and benchmark goals. So I’ll just leave it at 5. What are your resolutions? Whether or not you keep them, they are fun to make.

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