Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year That Was

As you can imagine, for anyone living in Fort McMurray, it's truly been one hell of  a year.  Low oil prices, economic uncertainty, lay offs and rumours of lay offs, followed by yet more lay offs.  And then, of course, there was the Beast, the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history that saw roughly 88,000 people abandoning their work, their houses and their everyday routines of life and fleeing for safety.

In a very real way, I've come to more fully appreciate the value of human life and living safely.  More than one firefighter here sacrificed his home in order to help save mine.  I appreciate the value of countless people helping complete strangers with no expectation of repayment.  I appreciate second chances, making the most of each day and taking nothing for granted.

It's been quite a roller coaster ride but while the year had its fair share of angst, there were positives as well.  Chief among them would be the fact that I've navigated my through all the crazy events of the past year, either through luck or skill and sometimes both.  I've managed to stay employed through countless rounds of layoffs and rumours of layoffs and kept my tenants in place.  It really is impossible to overstate how much of relief that has been.  In other positive news,  I saw a number of great concerts with the Calgary Philharmonic and the Edmonton Symphony which I touched on on my blog here.  While the evacuation prevented me from seeing one concert I was especially looking forward to, I will get a second opportunity to see one of my favourite violin concertos performed in the coming spring.

While the evacuation also wiped out a much-anticipated birding trip to Banff, I still got to see quite a bit of the province this year (again, mainly because of the evacuation) and this in turn led to me being able to see a record number of birds for my year list.  I initially hoped to get to 50 for the year, which seemed an impossibility once the evacuation but all the travel I did throughout May and June led me to seeing at least 5 or 6 species I had never seen before.  Unless something really crazy happens in the last few hours of the year, I will finish off 2017 with 83 for my year list, so despite all the trials and tribulations of the year I really can't complain.

Other than that I really can't think of too much else.  I'm in the middle of a work shift so I'm scrambling to hack something out before we roll over in to the new year.  I really  feel as if I've turned a corner and the new year will potentially open up some exciting new opportunities for me though it might take a bit longer before they are fully realized.  At any rate, after the insane bat-shit crazy year this was, things can only look up as we stand at the cusp of taking one more trip around the sun.


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