January 1, 2018
Looking Back at 2017
2017 was a very strange, interesting and amazing year.
So much happened this year, it’s hard to even sum it all up. I feel like I have been kind of shell-shock from the strain of the changing times.
I’m now a news/twitter junkie. There is so much happening in the world, and it’s become so easy to stay connected to it all. It can feel overwhelming, as if it’s constantly spinning faster and faster.
From the beginning of the #resistance movement to the #MeToo movement and every #movement in-between, this certainly is an interesting time to be alive. It was such an unusual year. 2017 was literally a year where when the government actually handed over credible evidence of UFOs to respectable news outlets it was not enough to get more than a “meh” from society. It was that kind of a crazy year. But despite the struggles (and regressions) we have faced, I’m feeling more optimistic about our future. People are more engaged now, and I believe that will lead to progressive change, even as we stumble along the way.
On a personal note, my oldest niece got married and I performed the officiation of the ceremony. She requested that I do this, and it was truly the honor of my life to have that job. That was certainly the highlight of my year by a long shot. It was also a little stressful (to put it mildly) getting ready for it, having never done anything like that before, and with everything going on at work, and on top of that trying to get ready for a vacation with my parents to see national parks immediately following the wedding. The location of the wedding was gorgeous, along the shores of the Colorado River just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. It somehow thankfully and possibly miraculously all turned out pretty great. It went off without a hitch, and if there were hitches they seemed to be meant to be. It was a lovely event, and I think transformative for many of our family members gathered. Sheesh, I guess I can add wedding officiant to my list of professions :)
I’ve written a little about the national parks trip here. This trip was my first time to really experience the American West. After experiencing it, I am in love. Our country is blessed with majestic natural wonders, and every citizen should get a chance to experience them. The National Parks are special indeed. There is a feeling when you are there that is difficult to put into words, its a kind of reverence that fills your heart, maybe similar to the way a religious person would feel upon visiting a holy land for the first time that they had heard about often. I noticed that each place we visited had it’s own unique charms, unique smells, unique feeling. Bryce Canyon was my favorite of the parks. The pines that grow there have a unique rich smell. It was raining which didn’t bother me and gave me some privacy while I walked around the edge of the Bryce Amphitheater. Looking at the rocks I felt like I could see faces from the past. (Later I read that the inderiounous people of the area often saw the faces of their ancestors in those rocks). I tried to take photos of the faces, but all I ended up with were photos of splotches of rain on the rocks.
The total solar eclipse came through South Carolina and I was fortunate enough to have friends who convinced me to go with them to see it (in the “path of totality”, the only place where it’s meant to be seen). It truly was a life-changing spectacle. I’m so glad I saw it and grateful to my friends who planned the trip. When I try to describe how amazing it was just nothing I say does it any justice. Imagine being outside with a bright glowing sun overhead on a hot summer day, and then gradually it begins to get ever so dimmer, with stars beginning to shine, and street lights turning on. The animals know something is up. Then after a little while the light rapidly goes out, and in the sky where before it was filled with an intense fiery sun, it is now stark darkness with a brilliant glowing ring in a night sky. (That sounds cool, but believe me, you just can’t get how cool it really was). You can’t take a decent photo of it with your iPhone because Steve Jobs didn’t plan for this specific scenario. You go online and see some decent photos of the eclipse taking by decent photographers with decent camera lenses, but you think this just isn’t as cool as seeing it with your own eyes, in the same kind of way that a photo of the Grand Canyon doesn’t do it justice. It’s just not the same. If you didn’t see it, you have my sympathies. There will be another one in 2024.
Anyway, happy new year.
Labels: national parks