Author Hal Borland wrote, "year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
As we close out one year and look ahead to a new one, that point is carried forth by elementary students in a passel of New Year's cards that are sure to spread new year's cheer...
"USA Rocks - Happy New Year 2012" writes one youngster.
"Peace - Happy 2012" says another.
Kids in Washougal wrote the messages and drew the pictures, including tanks, eagles, airplanes, stars, flowers and fireworks - even a martini glass with the message "Cheers."
Gorge Heroes Club, which regularly sends care packages to men and women in the armed forces, has mailed the cards to American servicemen and women overseas. They shared them with us before sending them off.
One note includes a pencil, and the message, "write a note to you're family with pencil included."
One child drew the earth and a colorful "2011 - 2012" and wrote, "When a old year passes away, a new one returns."
Think of that as you head toward the new year.
Nothing can top the optimism of youth.
Here are other sample messages, youthful spelling and syntax intact, from the more than 200 cards:
"Thank you for serving us. We hope you guys are proud of yourself because we are proud of you because you guys are making the country good."
"I sulute all who gives our country this freedom."
"Strong as a tiger, big as a bear, whenever you need them, veterans are there," said one card, with picture of roaring Kodiak bear.
"I pledge ulegents. Thank you for your ownership."
"To: US Military
Hapy new year"
"There is no place like home"
"Thank you so much for joining the war and army"
"Important" was the lone word on one card; on either side were the Statue of Liberty and an eagle.
"Hang in there!" - attached to a bead ornament
"Let freedom ring"
"We really appreciate you. Thank you."
"To the ones who protected our nation all these years to the major wars 1920-2011 and much longer ago."
"USA," with a drawing of a shining sun
"Stay safe to Army"
Stay safe. Happy new year" (with fireworks)
"Happy new Year" read a card with a watercolor drawing
Other cards bore flags formed from hand-cut strips of red, white and blue paper, stickers and decals.
Another card was simply a picture of a birthday cake. That young artist probably tried to think of an image that was sure to raise a smile no matter what date the soldier was born upon.
Whether simple line drawings or adorned with glitter or ribbon, these messages to the men and women who serve from earnest newly literate citizens are a testament to the wisdom that experience, at any age, can instill in us.