My wonderful neighbor S. gave me a Hanukkah gift I have come to count on with glee  –– Dana Heacock’s Abacus Calendar. The Calendar consists of twelve 11″x14″ posters that brighten my desk area and delight me each and every month. I wrote about Dana’s beautiful work once before in fact, having learned the lesson that you can’t make up for lost morning glories.

As Hanukkah was “early” this year, I’ve had to wait nearly a month to put up the first of Heacock’s whimsy. January kicks off with a green, yes green, cat. Her pink ears face the viewer as if listening for every New Year thought and wish. She crouches on a block of black, dark as Queen Vicky’s mourning dress.

Whatever possessed Ms. Heacock to paint her cat green? Why not blue? Or purple? Whatever her reason, the green works. “Welcome the out-of-the-ordinary,” this verdant feline says to me. “Stay alert for unusual,” it purrs. “And why not green?” it insists. Green is the color of spring, of promise, of money. Green is the color of the heart chakra, the source of love and compassion, hurt and understanding.

2009 was a killer of a year. Its rings of consequence will be felt for decades to come. But maybe, if I can take the metaphor once step further, this green cat of promise atop the black says, “The new year has succeeded the old . Look ahead! Look ahead!” And so I do.