1. All through the week, I looked at the forecast, which called for rain and moderate temperatures. As it turned out, they were right about the rain but wrong about the temperatures, which were in the high thirties. This weather, I thought, would not win any awards. 2. I went anyway. Yesterday I ran on the treadmill at the gym, and I couldn't bear the idea of doing it twice in a row, even though I enjoy listening to podcasts about the imminent end of the world. (I don't wear headphones when I'm running outside.) I'm also just getting back after an ankle injury, which means that my gratitude for health outweighs my disappointment in the weather. This kind of equation or motivation is the silver lining of any sickness or injury from which you can recover. 3. As I ran, I tried to extend the gratitude I felt about running into a larger sphere, primarily by ignoring the many horrible things that had unfolded this year -- namely: the news -- and focus on some of the good things that had happened (or not happened) to me. For example, on at least three occasions, I thought I had lost one of my expensive running/compression socks in the laundry, but each time I eventually found it! I know that finding a sock (even three times) doesn't really compare to the ongoing decimation of the welfare and regulatory state by the plutocrats running the country, but it was something. What I thought was lost forever had been found. It's a lesson I hope will have greater application in the not-too-distant future. 4. It was a good year for me in other (nonpolitical) ways, also. I ran two races (including a marathon), I enjoyed my job (something I never thought I'd say), I watched a few good shows on television and read some books. (And published one: see the sidebar for more information.) Everyone in my orbit (including the cats) seems to be reasonably healthy; not perfect -- we're all getting up there -- but okay. Or mostly okay. We're managing, which is maybe not worthy of a high-profile award, but still feels pretty good. 5. That the passage of time had not been as cruel to me as it had to (so many) others was a source of relief and -- due to my Catholic heritage -- guilt. 6. But the "Best of 2017" will not be awarded to my cultural guilt. There can only be one winner, and this year, it's the same as last year, and probably every other year. 7. It's a sublime work of living art that offers inspiration to all who care to partake of its wonders (at a direct cost of zero dollars and zero cents). Can you guess the winner? Here's a clue: it's not the socks I almost lost in the wash (but later found). 8. It's the park, a literal and symbolic model of governance, a safe harbor, and a path forward in these precarious times.