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!