The old rabbit, Twenty-Three, paused in her preparations for leaving the garden to reflect on her year.
The one thing she knew for sure was that it all went by in a flash. How could it be 12 months since she’d entered that gate as the clock hit midnight and brought her in?
Her recollection was that it was quite cold that night. Twenty-Two had mentioned something about a polar vortex around Christmas, so this year, she made sure it was warm enough to go without a coat. She thought maybe that would make up for the dry May, which caused everyone great concern, the terrible air in June, which forced people indoors, and then that storm. Well, at least none of the trees in Carol’s garden outright fell to the ground.
Twenty-Three decided she would definitely leave notes on the weather as her experience was that was the hardest thing to get just right. Plus she wanted to be sure Twenty-Four remembered the big solar eclipse coming in April. That was going to be a big deal!
As she checked her notes to jot things down, she realized Twenty-Two had left her with three ideas for new books, and she had written none of them. Oops. She had broken a string of new books coming out every year, starting with Seventeen.
Too late to do anything about those books now. She’d give those ideas to Twenty-Four to see what she could do with them.
Looking around at the garden, she thought about how proud she was of the vegetable garden, for the most part. Peas, green beans, peppers…Carol had eaten her fill of those. But was it her fault something kept eating the big tomatoes before Carol could harvest them? She decided to make note of that little problem in case Twenty-Four had some ideas on how to fix it in her year.
She was also happy that she’d gotten Carol to move the Lost Ladies of Garden Writing over to Substack, one at a time. Already, three had been moved, and two new ladies had been added. She would remind Twenty-Four to keep up the good start. And to continue the podcast, too!
As she continued making notes about winter sowing, houseplants, seeds, zinnias, tree-trimming, and more, she heard the clock chime for midnight. Gathering her bags, she hurriedly moved toward the open gate. In the distance, she saw Twenty-Four skipping toward her, ready to take over.
She admired the spring in Twenty-Four’s step, the enthusiasm, the optimism, and hoped she would remain like that no matter what happened.
“Hello!” shouted Twenty-Four as she reached the gate. “Any advice before you leave?”
There was barely time for Twenty-Three to press her notes into Twenty-Four’s hand, grab her bags, and wish her the best before the final chime of the clock.
“All the advice I have is written in these notes. What’s not written down, you’ll soon learn. Oh, and do be careful of…”
And Twenty-Three was gone.
Twenty-Four looked around the garden. Though it was winter, it looked like a good place to spend a year. She had no bags to put down… new years were advised to travel light so they could enter their time with as little baggage as possible.
Then just as she glanced at the notes Twenty-Three had given her, a gust of wind blew them out of her hands and up into the trees.
“Well,” thought Twenty-Four, “not only am I traveling with no baggage, but I also now have a clean slate. This is going to be an interesting year!”
But what was she to be careful of?
She sat down with a hot cup of tea and some freshly baked cookies, thoughtfully left by Twenty-Three, and began to think about what she should do first. She soon forgot the warning and began to make her plans…