Friday, December 29, 2017

At the End of the Year

The last week in a year is either busy away from home spent on some road trip in the American Southwest or it is very slow and quiet at home. This year we opted to stay at home and just relax. None of us has really felt the spirit of the season. Usually I write a Christmas letter to my friends and family in Germany which gives me the opportunity to look back at the year, but this year I didn't write a single Christmas card, nor a letter. When I try to let the year pass in review there usually are some highlights all over the year that come up, but this year I struggled to remember anything before October.

So I looked at my photos and the memories came back.

The year started out very wet with lots of much needed rain and much (less needed) flooding. I remember there were roads in our county that were completely flooded for days and weeks, parks were closed and the drought finally came to an end - at least for the time being.

I drove to Davis and back several times over the year, sometimes just in order to see Kaefer for a few hours. We visited the cows on campus, saw a powwow, shopped at the farmer's market and helped her moving into an apartment with her friends.

In February family from Turkey came over to visit for a couple days, and we spent a joyful President's Day weekend together, exploring the coast, an old fort and quite some of the wineries in our county.

I took many hikes, either alone, with Kaefer or a friend, and with the Geek. There even were some family hikes that we squeezed in every now and then.

In July we went to Yellowstone. We camped in our favorite campground near Tower Falls, explored the geysers, admired the wonderful colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring, saw wildflowers galore and an abundance of wildlife and, of course, we hiked a lot. This national park is my magical place where I feel whole and at peace. Nature in abundance - this is my church.

In August we were witnessing something we had been waiting for many many years - a total solar eclipse. It was a truly magical moment that left us speechless and completely awestruck.

The summer was long and beautiful. I didn't have to be back at work until the middle of August and I enjoyed having Kaefer at home with me. We got on some hikes, went out for coffee, did some shopping and sometimes just sat together watching some movies. It was hard after those weeks to see her leaving for college again and I missed her a lot at the beginning. But it didn't take too long to get back into the routine. I was busy with my work at both schools, met my friends regularly and was knitting up a storm.

Then October came along.

Even though we are the lucky ones who haven't lost our home I still haven't really recovered from what happened to our community. Everyone here has been affected by the fires some way or other. Even now, almost three months later, the main topic in conversations with friends, acquaintances and strangers is the fire. Everything is still very raw and it is difficult to find some kind of normalcy. For me there is, however, a deep sense of gratefulness for what we have.

What October lacked in autumn colors, November and even December gave us generously. Wine country wore a colorful dress of brilliant yellows, oranges and reds, and even some very fresh green after a few rain showers. Being out in nature started the healing process and even helped to forget that terrible October for a few moments.

May 2018 be a good, healthy and peaceful year for you. My best wishes are going out to you. See you next year!


Elephant's Child said...

My heart goes out to you. Fires leave scars on our hearts as well as the land.
I am hoping that the world experiences a peaceful positive 2018. We need it.

krishna said...

I can understand the pain ..what you have faced I know I cannot even imagine.. Hope everything will be good in the coming year.. Love and hugs..

Happy new year..

Willkommen auf meiner Kreativseite. said...

Liebe Carola,

ich wünsche dir alles Gute für 2018, vor allem Gesundheit für dich und deine Familie. Alles andere kommt von selbst oder ist unwichtig.
Gerne schaue ich auf deinem Blog, auch wenn die Bilder von Oktober sehr traurig waren. Mein Englisch ist leider nicht so gut, dass ich alles verstehe, aber für was gibts google? ;-)

Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

Barb said...

Carola, I'm glad you posted the photos and remembered your happiness before the fire rampaged your town. This loss you've experienced will take time to heal. I hope 2018 brings you joy and peace and love.

Sally H said...

So pleased you found some happy memories amongst your beautiful photos, Carola. I know how hard I found Meg's first year, so I can totally relate to you missing Kaefer, and even more after a lovely family-time holiday.
I can't begin to relate to the pain you must feel from the effects of the fire. That will take longer to heal. I know you helped so many people (and fish) - take comfort from the fact you have made a difference. I hope that 2018 brings peace, joy and many opportunities for beautiful photos. Big hugs my friend x

My name is Erika. said...

Nice photos. The ones from the fire are very sad, although they are wonderful photos. Happy new year to you.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Wishing you a Happy New year...hopefully with better things to come and NO Fires!

Jeanie said...

What an up and down year for you, Carola. Joy in travels and beauty and such tragedy. I can see why the Christmas spirit was sorely lacking but I was glad to hear you are starting to "return" and that the colors of December were of some consolation. Sending wishes for joy and continued healing in the new year.

Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine the ways in which the fire has impacted your life and your community. It looks as though you had some wonderful experiences earlier in the year. I hope that 2018 brings you peace and happiness.

Magic Love Crow said...

I can't even imagine, what you and your neighbours have went through!
I am so happy, you were able to find some happiness, after what has happened around you!
Thank you for your beautiful blog! Thank you for your beautiful pictures! Thank you for beautiful you!
Wishing you and your family a Very Happy 2018, filled with many wishes come true and good health! Big Hugs!

Darla said...

Happy New Year Carola. We are 2 years out from losing out home in the High Valley Fire and it still stings. We have started new traditions which seems to help and are finding new places and ways to experience joy. Hope 2018 is good to you.

Red Rose Alley said...

I remember some of these pictures when they happened. It is always a pleasure to see your stunning photos, Carola. I hope much goodness comes your way this year. You are a kind person.


windrock studio said...

so many lovely images and memories to match and then the very sad ones ... I truly hope this new year brings more good along with many surprises.

Feeriee13 said...

Love going hiking and camping, there's nothing like nature to clear your mind. Sorry about the fires...natural disasters are so scary, we almost had a really bad one here in S. Florida last September in the hurricane season...Wishing you a blessed new year!

Kokopelli said...

What beautiful photos! Happy New Year to you and your family. The photo of the total solar eclipse brought back great memories.