Happy new year, friends.
Whether you’re greeting a new day or an entire new year, sometimes the hardest part to attaining your aspirations is simply getting started.
No matter the weather, I like to start my day outdoors. It’s where I feel most alive: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Having said that, I’m not oblivious to the weather. It’s far easier to get outside on a bright June morning than on a dark cold day in January.
Flipping back the blankets on a cold, dark winter morning and heading out for a run around Mackworth Island is a jolt to the system. My eyes water as I stride across the windy causeway. I’m wiping my wet eyes as I carefully look for ice patches in the darkness. However, after the first mile has passed, I suddenly become aware that I’m no longer focused on discomfort. My eyes, my ears, and my brain are all focused on the wondrous sights and sounds of nature all around me.
As the eastern horizon brightens, the miracle of a new day unfolds. A red squirrel darts across the path, admonishing my interruption of his breakfast. A Common Loon swims gracefully across the cove, just off a pebble beach. A Black-capped Chickadee sings with earnest cheer, just as he would if it were 30 degrees warmer. The sun and clouds work in harmony to paint a stunning sunrise. My own metabolism warms my body, and my feet suddenly feel pounds lighter. Almost without realizing it, I’ve made the transition from enduring to enjoying the great outdoors.
That’s a germane metaphor for many of the “getting started” experiences of life. If, like many, we set ambitious resolutions for the new year, navigating the early part of the transition is the trickiest part of the journey to a better state. The trick is to persevere until you, almost subconsciously, arrive at a place where your new state is such a trade up that it is enjoyable, energizing, and remarkably easy to sustain.
Those of us who love Maine’s bountiful and unique natural assets are excited about the possibilities of a new administration in Augusta, and the accompanying new legislative session. The good people of Maine have spoken, and there’s a glow on the horizon that hints of a pleasant period of collaboration on actions that improve Maine’s environment. We have a lot of opportunity to make significant improvements on issues regarding wildlife and habitat conservation, renewable energy, and water quality.
However, regardless of the politics, changes on these fronts won’t just happen on their own. There’s challenge in shaping the nuances of policies and laws, and there’s challenge in working together in a manner that brings us closer together, rather than further apart. Just like my morning run, if we persevere, we’ll suddenly realize that the work has become less arduous and more energizing. And we’ll look at the incredible nature around us with a fresh appreciation that we dug in and persevered on behalf of the wildlife that surrounds us every time we step into our happy place in the Maine outdoors.
2018 has been a year of substance for Maine Audubon, with great success on many fronts. We had the best year ever for fledging Piping Plovers, our 50th Bald Eagle trip up to Merrymeeting Bay let us celebrate that species’ remarkable recovery, and nearly 1,400 volunteer loon counters helped us tally a record number of adult Common Loons. There’s progress being made on Maine’s 575+ Heritage Waters to improve protections of Maine’s native fish, including the revered Brook Trout.
I’m jazzed because 2019 has even more promise. Please join Maine Audubon in celebrating all that Maine has to offer — and in making sure we all enthusiastically collaborate to realize our potential.
Happy New Year! Let’s get started!