As the year winds down there’s a tendency to review and reflect – and anticipate with great excitement the upcoming year. The beginning of a new year has always been especially welcomed. Not prone to unrealistic, over enthusiastic expectations, but instead new goals. Fresh starts.

Soon we’ll travel back to Chicago to visit family. After having done this drive for 30+ years now it’s easy to understand those who grow weary of it. For us though it’s one of the highlights. We love road trips – and with the additional hook of using every opportunity to contribute to the 4042n project, even more so – especially during winter months when one may otherwise not be as inspired to get out exploring.

I was doing a little research this morning on a particular item of interest that caught my attention last year on my return on US Highway 34. There is a literal, definitive point in Lincoln, Nebraska where “The West” officially begins, according to lore. This point is marked by a star at the intersection of 13th Street and O Street in downtown Lincoln. While researching the exact location with hopes of finding it on one of our refueling stops I ran across this book titled “The Nebraska Dispatches” by playwright and director Christopher Cartmill. In it he quotes excerpts from a poem by Arthur Chapman titled “Out Where the West Begins,” and thought it a wonderful way to close out 2014 and usher in 2015.

Out Where the West Begins

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
That’s where the West begins;

Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter;
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter;
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins

Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts with despair are aching;
That’s where the West begins;

Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where’s there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And where a man makes friends without half trying,
That’s where the West begins.

-Arthur Chapman

Here’s wishing you and yours peace, joy and countless blessings in 2015.