Insert Annual Blessing Here

The new year is supposed to be a time of change. Hanging a new calendar. Making resolutions to improve oneself.

What we often forget is that it’s also a time to renew the old.

“Auld Lang Syne” is, after all, a reminder to cherish what’s behind us–those who have passed, those places we won’t visit again–and drink to their memories. It’s not an invocation of what’s coming.

So take a moment today for your own auld lang syne. So what if it’s a day late. Even a few days, weeks, or months don’t matter. As long as you keep those memories, they’ll keep you.

New Years is also a time to renew traditions. That song is one, certainly, but so are spending time with friends and making new friends.

There are personal traditions as well. Our original Backyard Bowl is long gone, but Maggie continues to put out food every day. That’s a tradition that goes back to at least 2013.

Meet G’aw.

He’s the most reliable visitor to the current Backyard Bowl; most days he’s waiting when Maggie takes the food out.

We continue our tradition of naming visitors by appearance. He’s Grey tabby and white, but that’s unwieldy for daily use, and the acronym is unpronounceable, even to one who grew up reading science fiction about aliens whose names generally lacked vowels. So, one quick apostrophization, and “G’aw” he has become.

Let me clear: we have no plans to lure him inside. Indeed, we continue to make plans so as to not lure him indoors, or even into the catio.

He’s acceptably friendly: he says hello from a cautious distance; waits for Maggie to come inside before approaching the bowl; and hangs around in the yard when he’s done eating, but quickly abandons even the best patches of sun if he hears us come outside. That’s about right.

Old tradition, new friend.

Happy New Year. May it be better than the last one; indeed, as the old-and-possibly-faux Irish proverb has it, may it be better than you deserve. Because really, at this point, I don’t think there’s anybody reading this blog who deserves the kind of years we’ve been getting lately.