This year–with all its blather and bomp–is ending. The year that Sarah Palin published a book, that we might have gotten health care for the country, that J.K. Rowlings didn’t publish a book, that the earth got a little warmer, the year in which we’re trying to figure out if we like reading books on a small electronic box.

I’m going down to Stockholm, WI, where I have an old farmhouse on the edge of town under the bluffs. I’m going to walk in the deep snow, maybe out on the ice of Lake Pepin, see how the eagles are coming with their ginormous nest (big enough to fit a bear), and watch the fire crinkle away in front of me for a few hours. Then I will close the house down for the season. It’s a relief and a sadness to shut off the water, turn the heat way down, and lock the door.

But endings are like that. I’m approaching the ending of a book and, surprisingly, I’m finding myself slowing down. I’ve enjoyed writing this book, and I’m nervous I can’t quite pull off the ending I’ve envisioned for it, and so I’m lingering in this world for a while longer.

Endings are like that. You close the door and walk away. You write the final word and turn off the computer. You drink a glass of champagne and salute all that was and all that is to come, knowing we will all continue to read books, whatever form they come in, and we will all move through our endings with sadness and relief.

Happy New Year!