My favorite 2017 photo of myself is of me laughing—after a rhododendren limb tried to tear my ear off while I was canoeing a whitewater river here in Western North Carolina.
I’m happy because, well, nothing really happened. A local emergency room physician sewed a few stitches behind my right ear, but, really, so what? At 68, I’m still able to paddle whitewater? What a blessing! I can canoe Sweet Joe Pye (named after the wildflower) or hike a peak with my ever-understanding wife, Becky, and hunt down obscure glacial relicts like deerhair bullrush and twisted-hair spikemoss (our new pet names for each other, by the way). Wow.
And I still get to sit down to read, edit, and share beautiful, heartfelt, touching, and humorous stories with thousands of gardeners across the country. Color me blessed.
Life has its lows, as we all know. I won’t deny there have been a few this year for our family. All the more reason to be grateful for the good things we have.
As 2017 draws to its end and the sun begins to tip back from its nadir, I wish bountiful blessings to you and your loved ones. I wish you chances to give—and receive—kindness and love. I wish you purpose and a way to serve. And I wish you times, in your garden and the greater outdoors, when you can rest and enjoy the gifts we have all been given.
Speaking of gifts, it’s not too late to take me up on my 5-for-4 offer (at left) and give your loved ones subscriptions to what one reader called “the little magazine with the big heart.”
Pat Stone, Editor