I close my eyes and dream of mountains, dusky blue, pushed one against another in rolling outlines like crests and troughs of a restless sea. This day finds me at the sea, physically, dreaming of mountains and the sparkling water of Lake Jocassee. My mind drifts, mentally comparing this past year to the one before. The first year of the pandemic carried a hint of desperation as our world closed down and a tide of frustrations pushed and pushed until the reopening released an anxious flood of pent-up humanity into our parks, through our forest trails, across our beaches. This past year was a flood still, but the current was calmer. People were slightly more considerate; slightly less trash was left in their wake. Old friends reappeared. Brand new friendships flourished. A peaceful transfer of management at Devils Fork State Park came with no protests, no riots. Trees and bees remained at their jobs, steadfast. Resilience became a keystone word. I close my eyes again and listen to surf – pushed by a strong northeast wind -- breaking against glistening sand beach. What will our “new normal” bring in 2022? I imagine less turmoil, greater cooperation, more consideration amongst our neighbors. A girl can dream… ~K