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redKill it with fire. I speak of 2016 here and I jest, because it really wasn’t all that bad as far as years go, or rather 2013, 2014, and 2015 were just so unbelievably awful, that I cheerfully ate 2016 for breakfast, like one might eat a bowl of nails or broken glass.

Somewhere in the midst of 2013 I Β got tough, lean and mean, and started saying, bring it on, I dare you. Pitch me another fastball. Go ahead, cheat, make some bad calls, heck, bribe the referees if you want. If you hit me with that darn ball however, I’m liable to pitch it right back. Hard.

Thomas Paine’s words have been haunting my dreams of late, “these are the times that try men’s souls,” and I’m not even thinking of politics, but simply of life and living, the battle that rages on.Β The past few years have been trying to my soul. “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered,” says Paine.

But he also says, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

keithI esteem nothing too lightly, not one inch of territory gained has been obtained cheaply. Blood, sweat, and tears, all the way. There is victory there however, triumph and joy. All in good humor here, but I am still standing post 2016, me and Keith Richards. Also, my vanity is well pleased to note, I am not nearly as tattered and scary looking as he is.

By all logic and reason, I should be starting to resemble a flat squirrel, a bit of road pizza left out in the sun too long, pock mocked with tire tracks, and yet I am not a flat squirrel at all, I am more like the willow tree, so flexible, so infused with life, that if you clip one of those branches and toss it onto the ground, it will simply sprout roots and begin to grow.

We willow branches eat broken glass and nails for breakfast like no flat squirrel ever could.

The Lord painted me the most beautiful sunrise this morning, glittering off the frost, casting the tree line in dark shadows, the road glassy and hard with black ice. When I looked down I saw my reflection there in that dark pavement, nearly swallowed up in the blackness, but I am not a reflection in the pavement. I am in that swirling mass of pink and purple light breaking forth, the glorious colors of His Majesty greeting a new day.

Bring it on, 2017.