The last book I read in 2013 was my favourite. The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden brilliantly brings a post-Contact Wendat world to the page, recreating a society that is so complex, yet often simplified or ignored in our history texts. His intricate prose was the perfect bookend to a year of reading that began twelve months ago with The Great Gatsby.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Life ends and begins for me twice each year. It ends once when summer ends, when the days grow shorter and the claustrophobic feeling that something is ending begins. And it ends and begins again at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Though I’m not one for grand New Year’s resolutions, I do suffer from a bad case of nostalgia, and it forces me to compartmentalize my experiences into small, manageable chunks. Each year I feel the urge to reflect on the things that made each year unique.
2013, for me, was not only a year of reading good books. It was also a year that took me travelling, from a hotel room overlooking the Alamo to a medieval bell tower in Bruges that was once immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But I didn’t need to cross international borders to discover new things, spending a lot of time here at home, in Hamilton, uncovering new spaces. Among my favourites were Treble Hall, 270 Sherman, a nine-kilometre trek down York Boulevard, and my own neighbourhood on a blustery winter day.
Hamilton remains, for me, a city with much to discover. I look forward to a 2014 filled with discovering local books and local spaces, and meeting more of the amazing people that make this city unique.
To a wonderful 2014!