I took the photo above this past weekend on a quick day trip to Blue Ridge. It's a small town in the mountains with lots of cute shops, restaurants, and sights. The plan was to go apple picking, a cute little family trip that Gabriel won't remember but will still fill our hearts. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same plan because there was an hour+ wait to pay for the tickets. So, instead, we walked around the area, had a couple wine slushies (us, not the baby) and then rode over to downtown Blue Ridge.

Well, that was packed too. The parking was full. The wait times at the restaurants were long. We were chasing the post-daylight-savings sun. So, after stopping in a couple shops and admiring the town, we decided to just head back home and stop at the nearest Chick-Fil-A for a late lunch.

One the way back, I pulled over to the side of the road to document the beautiful scenery.

Later, while I was going through my phone to vet the pictures, I found this snap (below), from the exact same day (November 9) four years ago.

I knew the spot looked familiar, but apparently I really love this view!

The day I first took this picture, in 2014, I was coming off a really fun trip with a friend and her family. I remember thinking it was the perfect fall afternoon. The next morning I found out my father had passed away, and a week later I was laid off from my job at the time, and a month after that, another close friend of mine died in a car accident. She was seven months pregnant at the time.

As the days, months, years pass, it does get easier to go on with your life after a storm, but even when I'm having really good moments or seasons, I am often triggered. All it takes is a phone call, a brief meeting for your whole world to flip upside down, and I almost find myself struggling to enjoy the good times in anticipation for the bad. Because if I anticipate the crash, maybe I can ease the impact? I miss the days when that wasn't the case. I miss being able to call my dad on random days. I miss the light my friend brought into my life. I miss the sweet baby boy I never even got to meet. I miss simpler times in general, but I'm thankful for the growth, for the changing seasons, and for the deep-rooted need I have to stop and smell the roses - or, you know, photograph the trees.