Happy New Year. Really!
Happy New Year! No, neither I nor Prairie Public have messed up here. Some of you may recall that I wished you an unofficial Happy New Year back in January, but mentioned that I would not officially wish you a Happy New Year until the ice went off Lake Metigoshe. The ice went off the lake last week, so “Happy New Year!”
In the cycle of seasons in the natural world, January first is just another day. I can’t think of a single thing that is significant about January first. It starts our new year only because the Romans set January 1 as the beginning of the calendar year in 153 BC because that was the day Roman Counselors took office.
Because I live on a lake, my new year officially starts when the ice goes out. When the lid goes off the lake, everything changes; it’s a new year. Plus, new plants are flowering or will be soon, and animals of all sorts will be rearing their young of the year. Spring is the beginning of a new year even though it is not official, and the first day of the year, of course, may be variable.
The calendars of some of our state agencies, however, are in tune with nature. Our 2009 state park passes officially expire May 1, and the New Year for hunting and fishing officially began April first.
For farm families a new year is probably official when field work begins, or when the planter sets in those first seeds. For ranching families it may be calving season, or when the livestock are put out to pasture that makes it official. It might be a little less clear for the rest of us, but spring would probably be the season. When does your new year officially begin? What makes it official? I suspect for most of us, it is sometime during the spring.
Starting a New Year January first is a disconnect when it comes to the natural world. Spring starts the New Year, and even though the first day of the New Year may be variable, it will all work out in the end. Spring is the season of new life, optimism, and excitement for things to come. That’s a New Year! So here is wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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