Friday, November 29, 2013

Remnants Of A Life

For the past week the weather has been outstanding - cool, sunny, clear, and the world has been glistening in the endless sunshine of the high desert plain in which we now live.
On a walk with Kory not too long after she found her way to Idaho, I took these pictures.
It was a raw day.
Cold but not freezing.  Windy.  Grey.  
We had had snow overnight.
Not much.  Just enough to cover the ground.
By mid morning most of it had already melted, but the remnants of it still covered the ditches around town, and lay in spots where the shade existed and will continue to exist for a long while to come.
When I took Kory outside for a few minutes first thing that morning she had been terrified.
Standing at the front door waiting for me to get my jacket on she looked outside, barked, and then backed away from the door.
Turning in circles inside our small mud room, she repeated that same unsettled series of reactions a few times, and it took me a moment to realize what was wrong.
She is a Florida girl.  She had never seen snow before.
And the world in her new home, that she was only then beginning to understand, had suddenly changed.
Within a couple of minutes of being outside Kory was fine.
Whatever the cold, white stuff was that was laying on the ground it wasn't going to hurt her, and after tentatively licking the snow, she began to play in it.
Later that same morning I took her for a walk around town.
As usual there was nobody around, and as usual we had the entire town and the entire expanse of BLM land around us to ourselves.
We walked (as we always do) down the middle of roads with no concern that anyone would bother us or interfere in any way with our time together.
We wandered onto BLM land and then wandered back onto the roads and then wandered back onto BLM land again.  In and out of empty places that belonged to us.
Or at least it felt that way, as it always does when we have the world to ourselves.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I am still curious if Kory is a part Belgian Malinois and part something-else, or not.
Sometimes I will look at her when we are at the house and exclaim "Put your ears up!" and this new dog, who I am growing very fond of, always looks at me and cocks her head at me, as if she is truly trying to understand just what it is that I'm saying.
As we wandered on BLM land for a few minutes before ducking underneath a fence to hit the road again, the wind caught her ear and stood it upright.
It looked strange to me.  
I'm so used to floppy ears now............
I didn't have a long walk in me on this day.
I was too full from the large breakfast we had shared with our neighbor and wanted to take a nap more than I wanted to walk.
By this time in our walk we had been out for only about 30 minutes but I was already done.  Over it.  Stick a fork in me.
On the spur of the moment I decided to get off the road and pick our way through sage bushes until we hit a piece of property that was close to the house.
There was an old building there and an old piece of farm equipment that I had seen from a distance but wanted to inspect more closely............
As I got closer to it I decided instantly that I loved this thing.
I had no idea what it was, but knew that LC would be able to identify it, because it was certainly used at some point for farming.
As I walked around it I could imagine LC telling me about it, telling me what it was used for, telling me that he had used something similar when he was a boy, telling me one more story about Uncle Bob. was a farming something.
And of course all I saw was art.
Art in the color.  Art in the overall shape.  Art in the shape of smaller and individual pieces of this to-me foreign object.
I didn't care what it had been in a former life.
Right now - in this place - it was a very beautiful metal sculpture...............
Boredom, breakfast and the cold were all instantly forgotten as I slowly wandered around this beautiful and mysterious object, and then found other old and rusted pieces of equipment that were hidden among the now-beige sage bushes.
Suddenly I was very glad that Kory and I had taken a quick walk on a grey day...........
Next to the farm equipment was an old, ramshackle building.
In any other setting it would be considered a pile of junk but for some reason, it just seemed to fit in this isolated place.
This property belonged to a very old woman who passed away only a few weeks ago.
She was the daughter of one of the original founders of this town and had lived here her entire life.
Which was much longer than the 1950's when the town came into its own as a community of homes for INL workers.
When the name Atomic City spoke of the dawn of the nuclear age.
This town has a much longer history than that, but for some reason I can't seem to find out the entire story.
I hear about it originally being called Fury but there is disagreement about the "why" of that name.
Regardless, her father was one of the founding fathers and she owned this land and this building and this farm equipment, but lived in another house here in town.
There are stories that a sheriff was shot in a feud over her affections when she was much younger.
Perhaps I will hear more as time goes by.
Perhaps not.
I don't know exactly what this used to be.  Could it have been a home at some point?
It is hard to imagine.
Like the rusted pieces of long silent farm equipment, I was entranced by this building.
A mystery as so many other things are in this town, with its partial stories and changing stories and eclectic residents.
Not Atomic City Zombie eclectic.  Just.........interesting eclectic..........
Kory and I wandered around this property for a while.
Filled with interesting, rusted, beautiful, forgotten neglect.
The place made me smile.
I was intrigued.  
I was enamored.  
I was infatuated with rust and silence and endless questions about how these remnants of a life (that were now just abandoned pieces of art) all came to be................

It was time to go home, drink coffee, lay on the couch, take a nap.............


  1. Today in the northeast you can't find such abandoned equipment. The scrappers gather it and truck it to the recycle places for cash. The items now don't even have time to get rusty. You place anything made of metal by the road and it will be gone within a day.

  2. Gathering scrap metal was a big deal when we were in Tennessee as well. My youngest son Chris went through our farm back there when he was still in high school and scrounged everything he and a friend could scrounge, and took it to a local scrap metal place to make a few extra dollars.

    I remember driving home from work one day and seeing an old Dodge Ram truck overflowing with scrap metal. It had driven by me before I realized that it was Chris with two of his buddies. For a while they were hitting up every family they knew.

    Kids making a few extra bucks for gas money was one thing, but it got to the point back there that people were stealing anything metal that wasn't nailed down.

    I imagine that happens in larger towns out west as well, but it doesn't happen in a no-name Tiny Town like the one we currently live in.