I decided some time ago that I wanted my last Flickr upload of 2009 to be a landscape, so late this afternoon I drove out to Usery Mountain Regional Park and hoped for the best. A saguaro in sihlouette is perhaps not the most imaginative or creative image for a resident of Arizona, but for my present purposes, it will do, since I arrived at the park only 45 minutes before sunset and could not afford to be picky.
Of the several thousand exposures I took during 2009, this one is the 534th to appear on Flickr. With it, I conclude what has not been the best year of my life, but certainly not the worst, either, and I am grateful for that. I sweated through a couple of waves of layoffs at work and later took a pay cut, but at year's end I still have a job, and in a very tough economy, I am thankful for that, too. I did not dance nearly as much or as frequently as I wanted to in 2009, but I did get in some dancing from time to time, for which I am likewise grateful. It continues to be the most therapeutic thing I have ever done, and where dancing is concerned, every little bit helps.
Contrary to what I had planned to make an annual custom, I did not designate a Person of the Year for 2009, because there was no uniquely dominant figure in my life this year as there were in the previous two. For me, the beginning and end of this year have in fact both been marked by sad departures. Angie left the Fred Astaire studio at the end of February, Amber followed suit at the beginning of November, and each of them took some of the spirit of that place with them when they left. I miss them deeply, but wish them well, and extend to both of these young women my everlasting gratitude for giving me so much joy during an especially difficult season of my life, and for teaching me a skill which I devoutly hope will continue to do so until I come to the end of my journey.
And last but not least, thanks to all of my Flickr and Facebook friends for the encouragement and support you have given me throughout this year, and for reading and apparently appreciating the sometimes lengthy stories and essays I often publish with my images. Happy New Year to all of you from Arizona!