A new year is a gift, a small piece of infinity, to do with as we will. Things happen. We grow (we hope), and we learn willy nilly."" Thus the author (also of A Sense of Seasons, 1964) in a spin through the calendar year from January, which begins a new year ""crisp and fresh and white"" through December. Mrs. Hersey chats equably about her own and her husband's seasonal activities: in winter, they ""deer-hunt"" with binoculars and a kind of alertness, diet, watch the birds at the feeder; in spring, when their ceiling is ""high as the heavens,"" their walls ""stretch to the horizon,"" they sow and watch grow. Summer days are for relaxation and appreciation, fall for harvesting and holidays. Then there are the visits from grandchildren, cooking, lecturing.... It is a full life with which the mature housewife of ""uncertain"" years may identify, closer certainly to Gladys Taber than Phyllis McGinley.