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Looking Back, The Images That Made 2017

The Year That Was

It’s that time of year again, remembering the year that was. To recap my personal 2017 and give it full context we have to go back to where I was a year ago in 2016 as my beautiful wife was nearing the end of her three-year cancer journey.

The image above I feel typifies my year. Out of the stormy few years I have had I am starting to see light. It’s not quite defined yet, but I can see the storm starting give way. The photo itself was not the picture I intended to take. I was at the Great Sand Dunes National Park while a summer thunderstorm was building over the dunes. I had hoped to get the sunset under the clouds and above the dunes. However the clouds continued to get thicker and gloomier, meanwhile the setting sun filled the rest of the valley with magnificent orange glow. It became a meditative moment for me as I just paused to take in the scene in front of me.

I knew going in 2017 was going to be a year of change and grieving, little did I know how much change it would be. This post is not intended to layout in detail how my year went so here’s the summary.

Heidi did finally pass away in January, she was mourned and celebrated in a beautiful memorial service. It was a great time to grieve, reminisce Heidi’s life, and share in the hope that this is not the end for her with friends and family.

February brought in more unexpected change as I returned to work at my day-job and discovered the company I worked for seven years was sold to a competitor on the east coast. The sale of the company was completed in March and I became an independent contractor/consultant assisting with the transition while remaining in Southern California.

In May my landlord, Heidi’s grandfather, passed away and our little family had to find new housing as Heidi’s family prepared to sell the house.  Living there was such a blessing and it helped us afford the flexibility for me to care for Heidi at home for her final days. We had always known there was always the chance we could move when we first rented the place, we just hoped to have more time to recover financially before we needed to move or purchase the house ourselves but it wasn’t meant to be.

Yet even in the midst of all the hard changes there have been many blessings this year. For example, my change in employment afforded me the opportunity to work from home so I can be around more for my three little girls. It also enabled me the chance to travel more than I normally would in a given year. We did two memory-making family trips to see extended family in both Nevada and Colorado, as well as visiting five national parks/monuments I had never been to. Also, we did find a new place to live less than two miles away from our old place in the midst of a white-hot real estate market. Even in the midst of all of these challenges I am grateful for the little blessings along the way.

My Top 10 Photos

Here are my favorite photos from 2017, in no particular order.

Before Sunrise in Kawuneeche Valley

Before Sunrise in Kawuneeche Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Starry Sky Over White Mountain

Starry Sky Over White Mountain

Mariposa Mountain Lily

Mariposa Mountain Lily, Pike National Forest

Summer Showers, Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Summer Showers, Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Long Shadows in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Long Shadows in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Buffalo Gourd Vine

Buffalo Gourd Vine

Thor's Hammer

Thor’s Hammer, Bryce Canyon National Park

The final image in my top 10 is actually a time lapse I did in the eastern Sierra Nevada as the summer thunderstorms passed through the Owens Valley.

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