2014: Through the Lens

Every January, I open up the nominally organized Pictures folder on my computer, sift through all the photos I’ve taken in the year past, and pick out my favorites.

This year I have a blog.  So I thought I’d share them with you all, in the hopes that you might enjoy them too.  There were less good ones than there were in 2013 I think, but that is partly because I took less photos I think.  So make yourself a nice cup of tea and enjoy.  Unless you plan on going sledding, in which case, you must go immediately.  Forget the Window Philosopher.  (Here’s praying if you’ve got too much snow, that some of it will move on to those who haven’t any and wish they had.  And a little bit for me too, pretty please.  The backyard looks magical right now, but there’s not quite enough for sledding.)

Anyways:

(All photos © 2014.  The author grants permission to download for personal use only.)

Sister and Molly looking out at the lake.
Sister and Molly looking out at the lake. (Jan. 1)
Roscoe, covered in snow and looking quite pitiful indeed.
Roscoe, covered in snow and looking quite pitiful indeed. (Feb. 12)
Sign in a restaurant one town over.  Made me smile.
Sign in a restaurant one town over. Made me smile. (April 5)
Jar of Hershey's Kisses for my piano student.  My teacher has one on her piano, so I found a nice-looking jar in the cabinet, made a band to go around it, and voila!
Jar of Hershey’s Kisses for my piano student. My teacher has one on her piano, so I found a nice-looking jar in the cabinet, made a band to go around it, and voila! (May 6)
Pig in a dress in a stroller.  Your argument is invalid.
Pig in a dress in a stroller. Your argument is invalid. (June 7)
Molly on the bed, looking sheepish.
Molly on the bed, looking sheepish. (July 23)
For this one I used the color swap filter on my camera.  Thought it turned out kinda cool.
For this one I used the color swap filter on my camera. Thought it turned out kinda cool. (July 28)
Sunflowers!  You may remember them from this post.
Sunflowers! You may remember them from this post. (July 30)
Graveyard near my house.
Graveyard near my house. (Aug. 17)
Same graveyard.  Some more fun with color filters.
Same graveyard. Some more fun with color filters. (Aug. 17)
Ah yes... the lovely sight of fresh-made Tom Sauce.
Ah yes… the lovely sight of fresh-made Tom Sauce.  May he rest in peace. (Sept. 12)
Ducklings at the county fair.  Aren't they just SO CUTE??
Ducklings at the county fair. Aren’t they just SO CUTE?? (Sept. 13)
A friend's puppy, Heidi.  Also SO CUTE.  And she still is, but she's grown like a weed since this was taken.
A friend’s puppy, Heidi. Also SO CUTE. And she still is, but she’s grown like a weed since this was taken. (Oct. 2)
Artsy shot of a chandelier at the auditorium where my sister sang with the symphony this fall.
Artsy shot of a chandelier at the auditorium where my sister sang with the symphony this fall. (Oct. 11)
Artsy shot of a candle casting a neat shadow on the wall.
Artsy shot of a candle casting a neat shadow on the wall. (Nov. 17)
Another candle... alone to the right of the frame.
Another candle… alone to the right of the frame. (Nov. 17)
From the Thanksgiving photoshoot.  Wine glasses and mashed potatoes.
From the Thanksgiving photo shoot. Wine glasses and mashed potatoes. (Nov. 27)
Another shot from Thanksgiving.  Candles and the ceiling.
Another shot from Thanksgiving. Candles and the ceiling. (Nov. 27)
For that one moment, Molly was posed perfectly...  At the dog park as the sun began to set.
For that one moment, Molly was posed perfectly… At the dog park as the sun began to set. (Dec. 12)
Matilda discovered sun spots this Christmas vacation... and deemed them good and wonderful.
Matilda discovered sun spots this Christmas vacation… and deemed them good and wonderful. (Dec. 30)

That’s all, folks.  Have a good night.  And never forget what an incredibly beautiful person you are, and how incredibly blessed we are to be alive.  It’s hard to remember, but it bears remembering.

DFTBA!  Peace!

And Thus, Drunken, Bruised, and Bleeding, 2014 Stumbles Off Into the Sunset

This feels a bit odd…  It’s just now 11 pm here in the land of Eastern Standard Time, but I’m scheduling this post to go live at midnight, January 1, 2015.  Twenty-freaking-fifteen.  :O  Most days of the year I’m envious of the people out west because it always looks like they have more of their day left than I do.  New Year’s Eve is the one day that I’m envious of everybody in the Old World and the Orient.  It’s already 2015 for them.  THEY’RE IN THE FUTURE.  o.0  Time travel is real.

Anyways, the point is, to all of you reading this:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!  XD  XD  XD  *sets off bottle rockets (purchased in Tennessee and then smuggled into the state), opens bottle of sparkling white grape juice (screw cap though… no fun), and flies across the blogosphere on Nyan Cat’s back wishing people good cheer and scattering confetti*

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

This morning, as on most, Grandma was watching Good Day D.C.  As I walked into the room, the commentators mentioned a poll going on at their website.  The question was this: was 2014 a good year or a bad year?

At that hour, the results so far indicated that most people thought it was a good year.  Then came the people who thought it was a bad year, and finally the people who thought it was a mixed year, at a mere 10 percent.

These 10 percent may be onto something.  After all, every year holds blessings and curses alike.  I tend to be an optimist and say the gift of another year here on God’s green Earth outweighs whatever crap gets dumped onto my hypothetical desk each morning.  His love is unchanging, ever there to surround us and guide us through each day.  Children are born, bright-eyed and wonderful, and with them hope flourishes in this desert that surrounds us.  The seasons turn, each bringing with it a shade of Mother Nature we haven’t seen for twelve long months, filling us with awe and joy at her beauty.

In short, the sun rises each day, unchanging, upon our world.

That said, there are plenty of good reasons to say that 2014 sucked.  Too many people died for too many stupid reasons.  We can’t seem to get our government to govern the way it ought to.  People are hungry and cold; people are angry and joyless.  These things happen every year, it’s true, but this year they seemed shockingly obvious.

In short, the sun rises each day on our unchanging world.

Just moving one word can transform the meaning of a sentence entirely.

That’s the thing, isn’t it?  Change.  God is unchanging and eternal, and this constancy is our comfort.  The universe around us changes, but at so slow a rate that we would bet on the sun rising tomorrow in a heartbeat.  We take it for granted, but we are quite glad of it.

We, on the other hand, do not, can not stand still.  We are in a constant state of change, either progress or regress.  If we stand still, if we abandon change, we aren’t keeping up pace.  We don’t just stop moving forward; we fall behind.

To me, it’s sometimes discouraging how hard it can be to move forward.  Standing on the brink of a new year, one might be reminded of that Death Cab song (go ahead, roll your eyes, people):

So this is the new year
And I don’t feel any different

– “The New Year”, Death Cab for Cutie

It’s a new year.  So what?  We’ve passed over an arbitrary recurring marker of time, commemorated by promises to ourselves which we inevitably break and food and drink that is considerably delicious but probably not healthy.  Big. Freaking. Deal.

Still, I claim the victory for the optimists.

There’s something amazing about the fact that billions of people will all be celebrating across the world the same holiday, possibly the only holiday that isn’t disagreed over because of nationality, religion, or politics.  We’ve all placed our hopes and dreams on the back of a single instant in time, set forth on this day for heaven knows what reason (don’t make me Wikipedia it), sending with them a wild prayer for the future, that we’ll make it to the end and object of our journey, even if we haven’t any idea of where it is we’re supposed to be going.

We use our imaginations.  In our minds, we’re being handed a book full of blank pages, the stained copy from last year filed away as evidence of who we’ve been.  It’s an inspiration to tear down the ancient crumbling walls inside of us and build ourselves into a better person, so to help build our world into a better place.

Arbitrary?  Yes.  But any inspiration is worth clinging onto.  And anything that helps us climb this towering mountain of “could’ve been”s is precious.

And if one maintains that this year was rather terrible, that can only mean that there’s a good chance next year will be better.

So yeah.  Still drunken and unsteady from 2013, The World embodied in 2014 was beaten by Fate and left in the gutter.  But by the force of its own momentum, and the will of its people to survive, 2014 pulled itself to its feet to bid the world a bruised but dignified farewell, and with a laugh, limped off into the sunset.

And now, 2015 is here to get its revenge.  Bring it.

In my own soul, I feel like the year rushed by with a mighty swooshing sound, leaving me dazed, too slow to take it all in, to eager to move through it.  Did I waste it?  Did I not pay enough attention to everything that happened?  Our trip to Greece, discovering indie music, a semester of college classes, writing, reading, etc.  What is it all?  Memories already fading.  Pieces of me I haven’t quite finished putting together yet.

It was a busy year.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

(Charles Dickens, I disagree with your use of a comma there.  With all due respect.)

Another year is immanent.  In so few minutes, seconds, 2014 will be gone, and we will embark upon The Year Two-Thousand and Fifteen, Anno Domini.

I don’t know why, but something tells me 2015 holds something great in store for all of us.  I pray it may be so.

To all of you, blessings for the new year.  Let’s make it a great one.

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one
I wish the world was flat like the old days
And I could travel just by folding the map
No more airplanes or speed trains or freeways
There’d be no distance that could hold us back

– Ibid.

We may be separated by vast distances, but we are one in the Spirit, my friends.  I thank you so very very much for putting up with my rambles and gracing my blog with your readership.

To the next year.  Allons-y!