Now for those New Year's cards


"Winter Studio'' (oil on masonite), by MICHAEL DOYLE, at Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery, Center Sandwich, N.H.

This is the time of year, right after Christmas, when many of us feel compelled to  try to put the past year in perspective and to mull how we can pave the road for the next one, clearing out the  trivial as much as possible. It's time for the big picture. And yet the trivial -- thank-you notes,  year-end financial accounts, holiday meals, etc.   -- get in the way even as a clear, cold morning puts us in the mood for finding clarity and throwing out excess baggage, which doesn't stop piling up.

Now I have to get back to writing notes on those ''Happy New Year'' cards we send out because we got too far behind to send  Christmas cards.

-- Robert Whitcomb