We had a white Christmas in Cody.
Not surprising I suppose (considering we live in Wyoming) but as of 11:30pm on Christmas Eve there was very little snow on the ground here.
At 11:30pm the snow finally began to fall.
It was so cold outside that the air was actually gleaming - snow and ice crystals falling from the sky and reflecting back at us in the darkness.
Frozen diamonds in the sky.
When LC, Jamie and I all climbed out of bed the next morning and looked outside, the ground was again covered with snow.
It was so cold. -5 cold. The coldest day I have seen since me and my boys lived in northern Ontario for a couple of years.
A million years and a lifetime ago.
Although snow stays in the mountains and out in the national forest, in and around Cody there is a continual winter-cycle of cold, snow, warm, melt, cold, snow, warm, melt.
With an elevation of over 5000 feet, surrounded by mountains and bordering the Rockies I would never have guessed that, but there it is.
It was Christmas morning and the frozen world was white.
The day was freezing cold, but the sky was gradually clearing, and I knew that the sky would eventually turn full-on blue.
Neither LC nor I could stay home. We had to move and as we stood in the cold we decided that we would drive towards the tiny cowboy town of Meeteetse.
After coffee. And breakfast. And getting dressed.
The guy who owns the property that we rent also owns a handful of horses.
They are all beautiful, wonderful, friendly and curious animals and have names like Blackie and Snipper and Rose and Petey and Buddy.
The horses have spent the past eight or nine months in a pasture out in the Southfork and only a few days before Christmas the owner brought them home for the winter.
Ignoring the fact that I was still wearing pajamas and slippers I walked down the snow-filled steps from the house, walked through the snow in the driveway and stood in front of Snipper who had been curiously watching us ever since we walked outside, ten minutes before.
Hello Snipper. How are you big boy? You're beautiful. Do you remember me?
Snipper watched me and LC closely, as we crunched our way through the snow and as I snapped pictures on a very cold Christmas morning.
The watery sun shone but brought no heat at all, and the world surrounding me was filled with soft pastel colors.
The blues, the browns, the greys, were all muted and subtle.
No bright colors in Cody Wyoming in late December. Only the soft and sometimes barely-there colors of winter...............
Our neighbor saying Merry Christmas to Snipper.
He is a tall, friendly animal. The leader of the pack. The one who quietly and insistently demands and expects the attention of humans.
When our neighbor left I walked over to Snipper and gingerly stroked the side of his huge head, unsure after all this time just how he would respond to my touch.
He allowed me to stroke him, realized that he liked it, and then nudged my hand, wordlessly demanding more.
It was an unexpected and friendly encounter between woman and horse, and I smiled at him as I said goodbye and began to think about heading indoors again for coffee...............
From front to back - Rose, Buddy and Petey.
I have known Petey since he was born last year.
He was born at the end of April and has grown into a beautiful adolescent animal.
His was the first (and only) birth of a horse that I have ever witnessed:
The trailer beside the barn will be in place through the winter, and acts as a wind break.
The Indian profile of Heart Mountain in the background..............
I don't really notice the difference when I look at them in the field in back of the house, but when I look at these pictures the difference between domestic and wild horses is startling.
Blackie below was a wild mustang.
Every year Bureau of Land Management captures and sells a limited number of mustangs, in an effort to control the size of the herds and maintain their overall health.
Wild mustangs are shorter, stockier, with a heavier musculature and a long mane that extends down and in front of their eyes.
I love the look of them. I have since the first time we visited the mustangs on BLM land late in the spring of 2011.......................
By the time I had crunched through snow in my pj's and slippers, visited with the horses and snapped quick pictures of our world filled with snow, I was freezing cold.
It was time to go drink coffee, call Chris and go for a drive...................
Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories...............From the movie An Affair to Remember