Another year is fading into the past and there were many enjoyable memories created over the past 12 months, with many more anticipated to be generated over the next year.
While many of the things we take pleasure in remain the same from year to year, some take on a more special meaning as we age.
Take fishing, for example. I can remember fishing 50 years ago along some of the same rivers and creeks I fished during the 2010 trout season. The streams have mostly remained the same over the years, with certain "honey" holes still holding a brook trout or two of bragging size.
There's still the same heightened anticipation as these holes are carefully approached now as they were years ago. The line is still delicately cast so as not to spook a fish or get snagged up on a sunken log or branch as you place it in just the right location for a strike.
And when the brookie slams the offering, the same excitement flows through the fishing rod into your arms and spreads throughout your body as the fight progresses. The fish is eased into the net or onto the bank just as carefully today as back in the 1960s when I was learning the wonderful sport of trout fishing.
Perhaps most unchanged of all, though, is the beauty of a brook trout with its spots, white-rimmed fins and worm-like markings across the back.
It's still a special treat to toss a fresh-caught brookie into a fry pan lathered with sizzling butter heated by a maple-fueled fire. And when the delicate morsel curls up and the orange flesh begins to flake, my mouth waters in anticipation of the splendid meal about to be savored.
The aforementioned characteristics of a trout excursion are those aspects of the sport that have remained unchanged as the years pass.
There are changes, though, that mostly have to do with the aging angler rather than the sport or the quarry. Some changes are good, others not so welcomed.
On the downside there seems to be less and less time each year to get out and wet a line. This development can have many causes, including everyday commitments of life. Less opportunity to go fishing can also be simply a change in the angler's lifestyle or frame of mind, leading to spending an afternoon wading down a trout stream not being a priority anymore.
However, for those of us who have maintained the attitude that trout fishing - or any other form of fishing for that matter - is still vital to living a satisfying and sane life, the sport takes on deeper meaning as we age.
While we still rush to get our daily tasks out of the way on days when we plan to fish, that rushing is a little more controlled as we take life at a slower pace. We still like to get out into the woods and on the stream as fast as humanly possible, but being delayed for a while really doesn't matter anymore - the fish aren't going anywhere, nor are the stream or the peaceful woods it flows through.
In the early days getting "skunked" was another frustration, but I can't remember the last time I used the word in regular conversation. Whether fish are creeled or the time on the stream nets nothing but fresh air, exercise and relaxation of mind, the fishing trip is always a success.
Even when the brookies are in a feeding frenzy and filling the creel with plump brookies would be an easy task, seldom are more than a few fish kept for eating fresh.
What appears most to mature with age is a deeper appreciation for the outdoor sports we love and a greater respect for the fish or game we pursue and the environment in which they are found.
For the year ahead - as well as many more to come - we should all strive for continued success in our beloved pursuits, use ethical methods for those pursuits and give thanks that we live in a land where we have the privilege and opportunity to enjoy them.
Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His e-mail address is email@example.com.