Comes now the end of a year of change in the Thompson household with the view outside my window as I write this the biggest difference in where we were at this time last year.
This was the year we decided on a grand experiment — a new photography, video and digital printing studio in the county I left 40 years earlier with a vow to never, ever, return.
We launched Blue Ridge Creative on January 1 in The Jacksonville Center just outside Floyd, Virginia. We planned to divide our time between the mountains of Southwestern Virginia and our home of nearly 24 years in the Washington suburb of Arlington.
But the 300-mile commute got old and we found ourselves spending more and more time in the mountains, living on the farm that was my home in my youth and planning a new home on 105 acres of land we own in Carroll County.
Then Amy found a spacious two-story, 30-year-old Cape Code home on top of a wooded hill about five miles outside of Floyd. We looked at other properties but kept coming back to that house on the hill and made an offer right after selling our condo in Northern Virginia, closing on the purchase just five days after leaving Arlington as residents for the last time.
Earlier this week, I snapped a photo of a full moon setting alongside a tree in my front yard (left). As I looked at the dawn emerging through the trees that surround much of our new home I wondered why it took us so long to give up the concrete jungles of the National Capital Region.
We just signed a lease for another year at The Jacksonville Center and expect Blue Ridge Creative to continue its growth as both a studio for our work and a fine art printer of works by other photographers and artists.
And 2004 will be remembered for other milestones — our 25th wedding annivesary (confounding all the skeptics) and my 10 years of sobriety (confounding myself). It will be remembered the year that I went from photographing politics, celebs and national leaders and returned to where it all started — shooting high school sports and the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It was a very good year. We look forward to 2005.