BHAspens2The adrenaline is wearing off and being replaced by a tiny bit of depression.  Erin and Katrina flew home to Phoenix today.  I always feel sad whether they’re leaving here or I’m leaving there because most times I don’t know exactly when I’ll see them next.  In this case we will probably see them again in a couple of weeks if we go to Phoenix for Christmas.  I hope nothing happens between now and then to nix that trip.  We’ll see.

The adrenaline is there because we’ve just come from a funeral.  On November 30 my Mother-in-Law, Bonnie Vigoren, passed away.  I don’t know and don’t want to know if my wife was at her side when she passed but I know that Judy was in South Dakota having traveled there on Thursday the 29th.  She had a feeling on Tuesday and made the decision on Wednesday to go and I’m glad she did.  But that’s not the point of this essay.

From the beginning my relationship with Bonnie was strange.  Not the stereotypical adversaries.  For the most part we got along very well.  Her sense of humor was dry and often sarcastic just like mine.  One year for Christmas she gave me an iron for my clothes.  She knew I NEVER iron…that was her sense of humor.

Mostly, though, she was quite possibly the biggest fan of my photography.  Many of my images adorn the walls of the ranch house that she and Vern retired to in the Black Hills.  I have heard tales of her bragging on me to anyone that would listen.  And that gave me an extreme amount of gratification.

Her passing was a shock to us, as death always is.  When I spoke with Judy and got the news I was saddened and at the same time energized.  My first thought was for my wife and children.  I felt it would be my job to be the tough guy and take the burden of stiff upper lip off their shoulders so for 4 days I was on an adrenaline rush.  As it turned out, it wasn’t really necessary.  My wife is a rock.  I kept expecting her to break but so far she hasn’t.  The same for my kids.  Granted, there were some tears at the funeral but no complete breakdowns that one would expect.  I’m very proud of my family.

So there I was on Thursday, starting to wind down and beginning the grieving process on my own.  I had some time alone so I did what I usually do when I’m overly stressed or depressed:  Grab a camera and head for the woods.  I’ve said many times that photography is my therapy…well, that and popping bubble wrap.  I headed out to photograph some stands of young aspens I’d seen.  You see the result at the top of this blog.

So on a day when I was winding down and the adrenaline was escaping, I celebrated Bonnie’s life by creating some images of the area she loved most:  The Black Hills around the Rafter T ranch where she lived her final days.  I hope she can see them….I know she would approve.