12 insights from the year just past

My word of the year for 2022 was a number: twelve. I didn’t choose it; it chose me. I didn’t know what to do with it after it chose me, frankly.

Like many people, I use a WOTY to set an intention for the year. Often the word is a verb: create, risk, trust, release. Sometimes it’s an adjective, a quality a person wants to develop in themselves, like fearless or bold.

But how do you find inspiration in a number?

First, you might look at the symbolism. Next, if you read tarot cards, as I do, you will ponder the number’s significance in the Major Arcana. The 12 card is the Hanged Man, which leads again to verbs: surrender, accept, allow. I’ve tried to do those things this year.

But with only today left to focus on TWELVE, here are 12 discoveries I made in 2022.

A pileated woodpecker is looking for ants when it pecks its trademark holes into a tree.

Once nothing is left of the tree but its outer shell, the woodpecker’s work is revealed as a portal.

When a tree falls in a forest, sparks may fly.

Or, it may be carved by a master carver and travel across the world and back.

Given enough time, a forest will regrow.

Occasions may arise when it’s appropriate to bring a calf inside the house.

Some cats, however, should remain outdoors.

Such as a lynx.

A swallowtail caterpillar can eat its weight in flowers in about an hour.

Comma butterflies—the ones with ragged wings I named this blog for—don’t particularly care for flowers.

But they do like hanging out in our shop.

No matter how many times I step outside my door, I will never grow tired of this view.


Do you choose a word of the year? How does the practice enrich your life?

8 Responses to “12 insights from the year just past”

  1. Diana Z

    Love your 12 insights from a slow life. I’m rather curious how the number 12 chose you. Do tell! I’m thinking of Yes, Enough, Community, or Explore as my word for next year. I chose Courage for one year and it served me well. I didn’t have a word for this year but if I did, it would have been something that signified treading water — lol!

    Glad to see you back on your blog. I wish you buckets and buckets of good health and love in 2023!

    • Leslie

      It’s hard to explain how it happens, Diana. I let my mind wander while walking (in the case of last year’s word) or washing dishes (in the case of this year’s word) and there’s a moment of recognition – “Oh, there’s the word.” And then within an hour or two, I’ll get what I like to call a wink from the universe – a confirmation that it was, in fact, my word. This year I struggled with trusting that “follow” could be the right word, even though I got several winks that were hard to ignore. I didn’t want to be a follower! My rational mind kept trying to choose other words. I especially wanted “sing.” In frustration, I wrote all the words I wanted on scraps of paper, including both “follow” and a blank scrap in case the right word hadn’t found me yet, and I put all the scraps in a jar and drew one. Follow.

      Love to you and Danièle and wishes for a year of love, health, creativity, and happy adventures. xo

  2. carin

    Oh how lovely to read about close walking lynxes (egad!), pileated portals and the origins of your blog title (which I am relieved to be able to take off my list of Things I’ve Always Wondered About) and everything else in this splendid post. I also choose a word a year or, more accurately, like you, it finds me. And if I decide, no, I want another… and try to force something, nope, it will not take. The one that finds me knows best and is never wrong.

    Sending buckets of happiness to you and all you love.
    Happy new year, Leslie!!

    • Leslie

      Carin, commatology arrived in the same way my WOTY always does, but in that case I was on my stationary cycle – the absolute BEST place for receiving intuitive messages. Damn I miss that bike. I was planning to blog about academic editing, and the word commatology showed up. It made so much sense as the name of a blog about academic editing. When I realized I actually wanted to blog about other stuff, I couldn’t let go of commatology, so I had to explore other meanings besides the study of commas. What I learned was that there are all kinds of commas besides the punctuation mark. My favourite was the comma butterflies with their ragged wings. I knew so little about butterflies then, but you started me on a journey of learning more about them this year when you were watching your monarch caterpillars. I started trying to identify the butterflies and caterpillars I see in my garden, and lo and behold, the ones that hang out in our shop by the hundreds every year turned out to be commas! You can probably imagine my delight when I realized this.

      I’m looking forward to following your PEI adventures this year. Happy new year, Carin!

      • carin

        Comma butterflies!!! Well if that isn’t telling you you’re exactly where you ought to be and doing exactly what you’re meant to do, I don’t know what is. Love it. And I always love reading you. (And you’re making me think about the stationery bike that lives in this house that the one I live with uses as his favourite place to read. But I’m curious now to see if it works as a message centre. Hmmm. Fine. You’ve convinced me. I’ll give it a whirl. Sounds like work though…) xo

        • Leslie

          You’ll be so happy you tried it – best message centre ever!! And I always love reading you, too. xo


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