Another year drawing to a close, and, as always happens at this season, I find myself looking back over the prior twelve months and wondering about what happened.

It has certainly been a turbulent year. For the first time in a long while, we are considerably less well-off today than we were a year ago in terms of household wealth. Considerably. It's sobering that so much assumed worth can evaporate so swiftly. For despite history's lesson that is it foolish to assume anything will continue without interruption or outright reversal, I certainly fell into a sense of complacency about the course of the economy.

Yet nothing has really changed in our day to day living. We still spend about the same, eat the same way do the same things. Admittedly, we have always been more restrained than extravagent and maybe that helps.

We did fit in a fabulous trip to England and Scotland that occupied one wholly delightful month; a precious time indeed. Add to that an equally delightful short vacation on the Mississippi earlier in the year, and I cannot really think of any better year for vacations ever.

Then, there was the great excitement of the U.S. Presidential Election that lasted all year and kept a political junkie like me glued to the internet. Indeed, with the financial storms to involve me as well, this has been a wonderful year for news. That's good too.

There have been no domestic disasters or even upsets. Something I might gloss over as hardly worth saying, but it really is. They may come, but seem unlikely. A stable and loving family is a lot to be thankful for.

No, the most I rue is the paper loss of much of our money. A bit pointless because it is not needed for a very long time, but I am a bean counter and I like more beans.

Finally, a word about this photograph. I took it in Canada in 2007. It's one of my favorites of all time. A golden rail stretching into the wilderness. Yes, this is disused railway track, but the beauty of that rail is the promise of renewal. One day a train may yet again roll down it. That's really how I look at my life, with its various interests and events. Always there's a sense that I may roll again down a long disused track as well as new ones, and that expectation extends well beyond this life.