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A pair of cranes spread their wings Nov. 25 while they prepare to land at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge spans 57,331 acres south of Albuquerque in Socorro County. 

My daily pilgrimages to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge ended one year from the day they started on Dec. 21, 2021. More than a thousand photographs later, I am still processing not only the images but the richness of the learnings, questions and experiences as well.

As you can imagine, there were many challenges along the way — everything from a wrenched pelvis when a ladder rung broke to a mild case of COVID-19 during the last week of my year. My few absences — nine days in total — were all the direct result of visits to my 97-year-old mother.

What motivated me to commit to and sustain such a journey? I answered the question this way in my March 2022 article for The New Mexican: One of the important gifts of the refuge, a reason I think so many visitors have told me that it “feeds their soul,” is it reminds us that we humans are but a small part of the cosmos. Like looking at the stars on a clear night, our experience at the refuge can fill us with wonder and awe.

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Geese take flight at sunrise Nov. 26 at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers us an opportunity to look back in time. While not really a wild place — it is far too small and heavily managed and visited for that — the refuge does offer us a glimpse into our wild past when humans first came on the scene.

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A murder of crows in fall light.

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A pair of deer stand along Rio Viejo creek at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

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The moon sets on the Chupadera Mountains on Nov. 8 at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

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