December 13, 2016, Prescott-

I will be sending my cards, and a few gifts, out on Thursday evening or Friday.  It will be cutting things close, but this year, I have chosen responsibility over sentiment. Besides, I need to buy a new printer.  Toys for Tots, NAU (my alma mater) and the young people of Streetlight will also need to wait until then.

I am happy, overall, with how my life has panned out, this year.  I am in a position of very intense public service, have a solid circle of friends, am reasonably respected in my community of residence, and have been able to maintain my health and vitality.

My son is holding his own, and getting ready for a great leap of faith and fortune, early next year.  My family, mostly in Massachusetts and Florida, with several scattered in other parts of the country, has been mostly healthy, this year.  I lost two aunts and a cousin,thus far, in the course of 2016. I also saluted an elder who inspired me greatly, as he headed to God’s Eternal Army.

My other love, Nature, rewarded me with a complete hiking circle around this beautiful city, and I have come to the final three segments of an amazing trek through the Sonoran Desert:  Dec. 26-27, and January 6, will find me in the southern sector of Black Canyon National Recreation Trail.  The 19 men who perished while fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, on June 30, 2013, have a memorial place, in Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park.  I will visit that place, on December 29, making my way along the 7-mile round trip trail that brings the visitor to the place where this unspeakable tragedy unfolded.

This year has brought tension, annoyance and suffering to many, perhaps more than in some years, and less so, for others.  I am grateful for having had relatively good fortune, while being prepared, should challenges come my way, in 2017.  A stable job, re-connecting with some friends who have been off my radar for a few years, and good, if too brief, visits with family, give a good backdrop for whatever might lie ahead.