Looking Ahead

I’ve never been much for New Year resolutions, but sitting around with a cold and/or allergies the past several days has made me pensive. It’s mountain cedar season in this part of the world. For those of you who don’t know, mountain cedar (aka ash juniper) infests the Texas Hill Country and it fills the air with its pollen for a few weeks in December or January. There are always a few days with a very high pollen count. Get a cold that coincides with those days and you’re dead. That’s what happened to me, and now to my wife. She thanks me very much.

The picture below shows how much pollen we have right now. The photo was taken about half an hour after sunrise, and overlooks the valley near my house. That isn’t fog — it’s pollen mixed with a bit of smoke from people burning the cedar trees they’ve cut down. You can see the slight red tint in the sky, but you are looking west, not east. If you look carefully at the left edge, about halfway up the side of the shot just over the top of the pointed green tree (cedar, by the way), you’ll see a flock of buzzards in a leafless tree. I appreciate their concern, but I don’t feel that bad.

Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to my next year in golf and wondering what my goals are, or if I should have any goals. Trying to play a little better goes without saying. I try to do that with hit or miss success, more miss than hit right now, and that’s so wired into me that it’s not really a resolution. I’m thinking more about how golf fits into my life, what it does for me (or to me).

First, I resolve to play with a clearer head (no cedar related pun intended). Not only do I play poorly when I’m not fully invested in the game, I don’t have a very good time. So if I have too much other stuff pushing me or if I feel like I really shouldn’t be playing that day, I won’t play. If I can’t clear my head for golf I’ll do what I feel like I’m avoiding and be ready to play when the next chance rolls around. Or maybe I’ll just take a nap, who knows.

Second, and closely related, I resolve to always have a good round. I’ll stink sometimes, my game may stay in the dumper, but I’m going to enjoy myself. If I can’t enjoy the quality of my play, I’ll enjoy the wolf game, the skins game, the one long putt I make, the guys insulting me, me insulting the guys, the weather, the turtles in the pond off the 11th tee, the apple I brought so I could feed the core to the turtles, whatever. I’m not going to leave the course in a bad mood. I’ll just fly home on my pet pig.

Third, I’m going to complete my tour of small town and municipal courses. I started this a while back with my trip to Utopia, but weather and holidays has slowed me down. I really enjoyed the trip to Utopia, and I’m going to treat myself with some more of those little outings.

Finally, I’m going to keep at this blog. My plan is to post at least twice a week, and more often if I’m inspired by something. I’m also writing a weekly golf column reporting the results of our weekly tournament for the local papers. I’ll post a link to the column after the first one appears so the curious among you can take a peek at our local golf scene. That column will take some of my golf writing time, but I enjoy the blog and will keep it up.

I hope everyone has a good year. I can feel the antihistamine kicking in, so I’m good to go.

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