Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long, 2011.

New Year's Eve, 2011.  So ends the hardest year of my life.  I have thought long about what I wanted to say tonight, how to sum up this brutal year and send it out the door.  So much loss, so much grief, not just for me and my family, but for my whole community.  Many of my thoughts have been angry and defiant--There's the door, 2011.  Don't let it hit you in the butt on the way out, and may we never see your likes again.

As good as it feels to say that, though, there is so much more to it.  As the old song says, "Where there's a shadow, there's a light."  Loss is just love turned inside out--you can't really have one without the other.  We lost a son because, however briefly, we had a son.  We hate fighting against poor health because we know very well what it is to enjoy good health.  We grieved the time away from our daughter because we have a daughter who is so wonderful we hate being away from her.  We mourned the loss of our wonderful South Elementary family because we were embraced by that family.

If we are still hurting, it is because we are still here.  If there are things we have to fight against, it is because we still have enough hope to fight.

I would not wish the sorrows of this past year on anyone, and it is true to say I hope never to see the likes again.  But just as a meal tastes even sweeter after a long hunger, so our hard times make the joys more deeply felt.  I am amazed at this:  How much richer the love between Mrs. Badger and me has grown.  How miraculous it seems just to play with my daughter and watch her grow.  How joyful it can be just to go for a walk in the mountains and breathe the sweet, free air.  And what wonderful, priceless, loyal friends we have.

God continues to do his work, turning the horror and hardship for our good, just like he promised He would. 

So, here's to you, 2011.  There's the door.  Friends, there's the door for you, too.  Please use it often.  We love you.

So, give a hand, my trusty friend, and here's a hand of mine
We'll take a cup of kindness yet for the days of auld lang syne.

Happy New Year, everyone.  May the God of New Beginnings make it rich and beautiful, come what may.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Tree

I love living close to the mountains.  People travel cross-country to see and experience what is practically my back yard.  To be able to get up in the morning and, with a minimal amount of preparation required to make the trip family-friendly, head for the hills...what a blessing.

So it was that, the day after Thanksgiving, we loaded up the Subaru and headed up the canyon to find a Christmas tree.  I love Christmas trees.  I love what they symbolize--the durability of life, the assurance that, underneath that death-blanket of snow and ice, living things are dozing and plotting their annual springtime come-back.  It is a great reminder, having something large and green in the house during these longest nights of the year.  Decorate it up with sparkling lights and shiny tinsel and it's like the stars on the snow.  Hang up the ornaments, each one of which has its own story to tell.  Then plug the whole thing in:  It's like silent, indoor fireworks.  Yes.

But since I am in serious danger of committing philosophy, here, how about I just get on with the pictures.

First, a short video.  This was actually taken the week before.  I love it when the snow does this.  The movement reminds me of ghosts on horseback.


Katito tries out the sled.  And here, I thought I was going to use it to haul out the tree!









Scouting with my Assistant Mountain Buddy 
(my primary mountain buddy is behind the camera)









Scouting...









Scouting...









Quarry:  Located!  Saw:  Dull!









While dad does all the work...









...mom and Katie goof off with the camera.












No expedition is complete without a family photo.










And the result?  Well, I couldn't get a snap with all the lights on at the same time, but maybe you can get the idea.  Beautiful.



















So, Winter isn't all about hibernating, freezing, pigging out, and being miserable.  Stay tuned for reviews of my new cross-country skis!  :)