It’s time again for my yearly pictorial wrap-up of the year (2023, to be clear). My general rule is to focus on scenery and not people, not because people aren’t important to me, but because there are too many who are important to me, and I would never want to exclude anyone and hurt their feelings. Scenery has no feelings.
On a sunny day in January, following a snowstorm the night before, I had some time between appointments, so I decided to use it to explore new areas to see what beauty I could capture. I happened along some property with an old red pickup truck sitting out amongst some beautiful snow-flocked trees. The juxtaposition between the two was just too perfect not to take several pictures. I can’t say why, but I love pictures of red pickup trucks against a snowy background.
In February we flew out to Denver for John’s uncle’s funeral. (Obviously, an unplanned event.) The thing about funerals is that it’s always fun to see everyone, but then there’s the sadness of the loss. John hunted with his Uncle Al several times and they always had fun together. He was also funny and known for his great cakes. After the service, we drove to John’s cousin’s house. I took this picture out the car window on our way there. If we’d had time to stop, the photo would be sharper, and there wouldn’t be a guardrail in the foreground, but you go with what you’ve got, right? Aren’t the clouds pretty? They remind me of a watercolor.
When March arrived, we decided we needed to escape the Minnesota winter with a trip to San Diego. It wasn’t toasty warm, but the sun was out, which always cheers me up. One morning, we drove to La Jolla and walked around by the beach. While there, we came across several Brandt’s blue cormorants sitting on their nests. I can’t remember if this bird was trying to scare away other birds or show off her plumage, but wow! The blue throat is the most beautiful color, and look at the tail closely. I can see what appears to be two eyes and a mouth that show up when the cormorant lifts its tail. What an amazing creator God is!
At least once or twice a year, I capture an amazing sunset from our living room window. What I love about this one, besides the beautiful sunset, is the buds on the trees in the foreground. It’s encouraging to see in January when everything around here looks deader than a doornail.
The end of May had us off on a grand adventure we’d been anticipating for over a year. We took a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine River from Switzerland to the Netherlands. Before boarding the ship though, we spent three days in Lake Como, Italy. A boat ride to Bellagio took us past this beautiful Medievel Bridge and waterfall of Nesso.
The advantage of our trip crossing into June is that I can share a second picture from our trip. We visited Cologne, Germany towards the end of our trip. Besides the Lindt Chocolate museum, which I highly recommend you don’t miss if you find yourself in the vicinity, Cologne is also home to the tallest twin-spired cathedral in the world. It’s not only beautiful on the outside (and an amazing showcase of gothic architecture), it’s also beautiful on the inside. It’s simpler than many of the other cathedrals we visited, which is what I loved about it. I captured this view on our way out of town to travel to our next stop.
We flew to Utah in July to attend my nephew’s wedding. The whole weekend was filled with fun activities starting with a welcome party on Friday night at an outdoor event location in Park City. It was a beautiful night in a beautiful environment. The family and friends there were the icing on the cake (as they say).
The Monterey Bay area in California has to be one of my favorite places in the world. My brother offered me the opportunity to use his home there, and who am I to say no to a free place to stay. John was tired of traveling at this point, so my friend Debbie went with me. We laughed, ate, and visited all the best and most beautiful places. The ocean, however, always has my heart; ever-changing and always spectacular.
In September, my friend Nancy and I attended an event at the Minnetonka Apple Orchard. This hydrangea that I took a picture of is at the top of my favorite flowers list and at the very top of my favorite hydrangeas list. It’s so delicate and a perfect pink.
What’s not to love about October? Sure, it’s just a couple of months away from the snow and cold, but all the beautiful colors make up for the fact it’s the clarion announcement for winter. It looked like it was going to be a disappointing color year in 2023, but one day, when we’d all given up hope, the colors popped!
John wanted to go to Oregon in November. We both went to college there, and we were able to meet up with old friends and some family. I didn’t remember it raining that much when we were there for college, but we made the best of things. The one thing I especially wanted to do during our trip was visit Multnomah Falls. It’s amazingly beautiful and waterfalls are second only to the ocean in my book.
It’s so dark in December that the Christmas lights are always a welcome addition. This house around the corner from us always has a spectacular display. It’s so kind of the owners to go to all the work to add a little Christmas cheer to the area.
When I look back at all of these pictures it brings to mind Louis Armstrong’s song, “What a Wonderful World.” There’s so much beauty that God has blessed us with that it can be hard to take it all in sometimes.