The past 12 months were more than just Year 2 of the pandemic.
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
It’s Monday. The past 12 months were more than just Year 2 of the pandemic. Plus, the legacy of Joan Didion.
As in so much of the world, 2021 in California began with misery.
During the first two months of the year, more people were dying of Covid-19 every day in California than at any other point in the pandemic. Vaccinations had begun, yet it was difficult to imagine a reprieve from the oppressive fear.
But, even with the latest surge, 2021 has turned out to be far more than just Year 2 of the pandemic.
The stunningly effective immunizations allowed us to claw back a more normal “new normal.” In 2021, many of us went back to school, back to offices, back to dinner dates, back to birthday parties and weddings and hugs and movie theaters and vacations.
The pandemic refused to go quietly, and non-coronavirus-related tragedies played out across the state. So while the year was sometimes still terrible, it also had moments that were wonderful.
Here are 10 images from 2021 in our state:
There was no escaping the pandemic. The coronavirus has so far claimed the lives of more than 76,300 Californians since early 2020.
Here, a son bade goodbye to his father in an intensive-care unit in Los Angeles.
Once a coronavirus testing site, Dodgers Stadium became one of the country’s biggest locations for Covid-19 vaccination.
Thousands of students and teachers returned to classrooms in the fall after more than a year of online instruction. Here, kindergartners in Fresno awaited recess.
Thirteen undocumented immigrants died in March near the Mexico border when a big rig slammed into an S.U.V. crammed with more than two dozen people.
At a vigil at the site of the accident in Imperial Valley, mourners held crosses with the victims’ names.
An effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom was defeated in a landslide, a victory viewed as a referendum on his Covid-19 policies.
Californians found joy within their pandemic confines: Fans of the San Diego Padres danced on the sidewalk after the team defeated the Dodgers at Petco Park in April.
A senior women’s basketball league in San Diego restarted play after a yearlong hiatus. In this image, 92-year-old Marge Carl took a shot.
The Dixie Fire, which began in July, burned more than a million acres in Northern California and became the second largest fire in state history.
While the Caldor Fire, pictured here, didn’t grow quite as large, it destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as it ravaged more populated parts of the state over the summer.
The Caldor Fire forced evacuations of South Lake Tahoe, shown here empty and shrouded with smoke.
Through the ebbs and flows of pandemic life, Californians in 2021 were forced to grow more resilient.
At a beach in Malibu, the pro surfer Hunter Jones faced the waves, ready to confront whatever was next.
You can find The Times’s 176 Pictures of the Year here.
These are our favorite sports photos of 2021.
And the 10 best California books of 2021.
Hollywood is testing just how many marquee names a single film can hold.
Joan Didion: The writer famous for her dispatches from California died late last week. Read a guide to her books, a collection of her writing for The Times and an essay on her generation-defining work.
You can find all our Didion coverage here.
Business: How a relief fund for restaurants picked winners and losers.
Christmas storm: A major storm over the weekend brought snow across the state, shutting down power and roads, The Associated Press reports.
Principal ballerina: Chyrstyn Fentroy, a ballerina from Los Angeles, was named a principal dancer at Boston Ballet.
Girl killed in shooting: A 14-year-old was killed by a stray bullet after a police officer opened fire at a clothing store in Los Angeles.
T. Mark Taylor: The “He-Man” artist and toy designer died on Thursday, The Associated Press reports.
Apparent shark attack: A man died near Morro Bay in what may have been the only fatal shark encounter of the year in the U.S.
Wayne Thiebaud: The artist known for his paintings of San Francisco died on Saturday.
Recycling: A prominent advocacy group has labeled San Francisco “the poster child” of California’s troubled bottle and can recycling program, The Associated Press reports.
A soup that tastes like being home for the holidays.
Today’s travel tip comes from Antonio Miguel, who recommends The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens:
“Located in the city of San Marino, just south of Pasadena, it’s a wonderful place to walk and see great works of art including paintings and sculptures. It requires advanced reservation for admission.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Five Joan Didion movies you can stream right now.
A nurse won her dream wedding because of her hard work during the pandemic — and because of an Instagram post her fiancé wrote.
Read the lovely story of Emilia Gonzalez and Joseph McCloud in The Times.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: What enjoys a light meal every day? (5 letters.)
Jeremiah M. Bogert Jr. and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.
The Year in Photos: Look through the pictures that helped us tell the story of 2021.
2021 Firsts: A round-up of events and trends, surprising and serious, noted for the first time ever this year.
Making Black History: Here are the achievements that shaped the first year following the country’s racial reckoning.
Moments in Sport: In 2021, players and leagues tried to return to normal in the shadow of the coronavirus.
Quiz: Do you recognize the notable people whose stories defined the year?