A year in the life -- of our community, of our neighbors, our heroes and people we didn't know but felt in our hearts.
The images of them are subtle, soulful reminders of the fragility and the majesty of life. At year's end, they bear witness to the reality that joy and sorrow are interconnected in the continuum of our lives.
We wish this wasn't so, but the pictures don't lie. We hoped for joy in the year gone by, and we felt joy, but it came with pain, too.
The bitter and the sweet are like our region of two rivers that replenish and renew even as they threaten and sometimes deliver danger.
We had ourselves a year in this community of ours, didn't we? -- Marcos Breton
Jacob Caneba, 11, and his sister Kate, 8, hold an American flag Thursday to honor Marine Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, who was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012. As a motorcade carried Mote's body from McClellan Air Park to Green Valley Mortuary, area residents waved flags from freeway overpasses and lined streets along the route in El Dorado Hills, where he attended elementary and middle school. The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas
The Sacramento region's first baby of the year, Luke Paul Gerhart, 8-pound, 8-ounces, was born two minutes after midnight at Mercy General Hospital on Sunday, January 1, 2012. The Sacramento Bee / Randy Pench
Marianne Lomax, right, sits with friends Emily Brady, and Hayley Helton, center, as supporters gathered for a candlelight vigil for Linnea Lomax, at Arcade Church in Sacramento on July 3, 2012. Linnea, a 19-year-old UC Davis student from Placerville, walked away from an outpatient mental health facility in June. Marianne Lomax found her daughter's body along the American River in early September. Linnea had taken her own life. The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas
A Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy cares Mark Bukhantsov, 6-months old, who was unharmed in a Rancho Cordova shooting on October 23, 2012, that took the lives of his mother, Alina Bukhantsov, 23, and siblings Emmanuela, 3, and Avenir, 2. The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas
A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement is arrested by California Highway Patrol officers during a counter-protest of the South Africa Project, which had gathered on the south steps of the Capitol on February 27, 2012 to protest "white genocide in South Africa." The Sacramento Bee / Randy Pench
Bodie, a Sacramento police dog, recovers at the Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center in Rancho Cordova after being shot once in the leg and twice in the jaw on May 18, 2012, during the pursuit of a suspected car thief in the Land Park neighborhood. Bodie is on the mend and may return to duty in early 2013. The Sacramento Bee / Autumn Cruz
A tearful Jorge Azios Jr. is embraced during a prayer vigil for his 3-year-old son, who died July 4, 2012, after gun shots were fired from a vehicle into the car Azios was driving on Loucreta Drive near Palmer House Drive. Jorge Azios, 3, died after more than a dozen bullets hit the car his father was driving. The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas
Don Hatfield snuggles his grandson Alex Winkler, 9 months, the youngest of the three children of his daughter, Rachel Winkler who was stabbed to death February 27, 2012, in her Cameron Park home; her husband, Todd Winkler, has been charged. Hatfield, a noted Northern California artist, lost his wife, Janey, to cancer in January, reached an agreement in private mediation to become the primary guardian for his grandchildren Eva, 5, Ariel, 3 and Alex. Todd Winkler's trial is pending. The Sacramento Bee / Renee C. Byer
"We couldn't move out of the way fast enough," says Gemily West, 23, of Carmichael. West was seriously hurt, and her boyfriend, Harison Long-Randall, 21, was killed as were their four dogs, in a hit-and-run accident that provoked nationwide outrage in July. West's discolored right leg is held together by 42 metal staples. Prosecutors have charged the suspected drunken driver with murder. The Sacramento Bee / Renee C. Byer
Isabel Call and her boyfriend, Chris Ganson, snuggle in his home in midtown Sacramento before her departure for Houston in June, to undergo cancer treatment. Call has a rare cancer and successfully fought her insurance company for coverage of an innovative treatment. The Sacramento Bee / Lezlie Sterling
Bassist Harley White Jr. accompanies poet Justin Desmangles during a poetry reading under the redwood trees at the University of California, Davis Arboretum on May 17, 2012. The Sacramento Bee / Manny Crisostomo
The space shuttle Endeavour, riding atop a modified Boeing 747, soars over the state Capitol on September 21, 2012, as part of a farewell journey that ended with its arrival at a Los Angeles museum. The Sacramento Bee / Lezlie Sterling
Sacramento's downtown skyline looms beyond the Sacramento River waterfront and the Tower Bridge in a composite photograph made in October. 2012. The Sacramento Bee / Paul Kitagaki Jr.
Peter Pum smells a fragrant piece of wood as Sacramento city workers remove a huge camphor tree from the corner of 18th Street and Capitol in Sacramento in August. The landmark tree, planted in 1886, was a favorite among residents and was removed because it was riddled with disease. The Sacramento Bee / Randall Benton
Francie Dillon, one of Northern California's premier children's entertainers, takes a break from swimming in September. Increasingly debilitated by a mysterious disease, her symptoms interfere with her speech, movement and ability to deliver the high-energy show that she is known for. The Sacramento Bee / Autumn Cruz
Mina Brown, 6, of Elk Grove, proudly wears a butterfly painting during the Day of Peace event held at Carmichael Park in June. The Living Well Center's annual event filled the park with yoga and Zumba, vendors, music, food and a farmers market. The Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua
Ngaly Tapa, a defensive tackle at Burbank High School, celebrates on the sideline during a game against Sacramento High in September.
The Sacramento Bee / Randall Benton
Fantasia Stensland, of east Sacramento, left, photographs Dick Cowan, of Gold River, at a display mimicking one of Norman Rockwell's famous paintings at the opening of the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in November. The Sacramento Bee / Randall Benton
Malyia Jeffers plays with classmates at Hillsdale Avenue Head Start in North Highlands in October. The 4-year-old is walking and running on her prosthetics nearly two years after the medical nightmare that claimed parts of all four of her limbs. The Sacramento Bee / Manny Crisostomo
George Nied, a 63-year-old stay-at-home dad, watches his son Jack, 6, and daughter Jenna, 5, at the family's North Natomas home. Caring for the kids "stops me from doing other activities, "he says. "But I ... realized there's really nothing I'd rather do than be with these kids." The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith takes a helmet in the back of the head by St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar in November at Candlestick Park. Smith sustained a concussion during the play and later left the game. The Sacramento Bee / Paul Kitagaki Jr.
DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings' troubled-young center, concentrates during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Sleep Train Arena on Nov. 9, 2012. Cousins was suspended for two games without pay for "confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliot in a
hostile manner" after the game. The Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig tags San Francisco Giants' Gregor Blanco before he can touch the base, but Blanco was called safe by umpire Bill Miller in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS on Oct. 15, 2012 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Sacramento Bee / Paul Kitagaki Jr.
San Francisco Giants fan Larry Jackson, of Napa, watches infield practice before a spring training game in Scottsdale, Arizona in March. Jackson had recently had the Giants 2010 World Series Championship logo tattooed on the back of his head. The Sacramento Bee / Jose Luis Villegas