For all the grey and misty days we have had so far this winter, for all the days when watery sunshine willed its way through the fog and produced a warm-less and muted daylight, there have also been days that have been astonishing.
Days where the winter sun changes the entire appearance of the world.
Where colors are so vivid that the everyday suddenly becomes the once-in-a-lifetime, and the commonplace becomes a brilliant work of art.
These recent pictures are from two of those days.
LC, Kory and I walked in town late in the day a couple of weeks ago, easily and slowly wandering through town and enjoying an unusually warm day.
The sky had been completely blue throughout the day, and at this time (only about 90 minutes before the sun would set) the colors of the world were startling, complete with vivid hues and the long late-day shadows of winter in south-eastern Idaho...............
For a short period we stopped at our local bar.
Unlike most who stop here though, LC was on the hunt for peanut butter crackers.
Kory was on the hunt for doggie biscuits that the owners keep in a jar behind the counter, and which Kory happily and always breaks into pieces and then eats off the concrete floor inside.
I was on the hunt for news of shoulder surgery that the owners' wife had recently undergone.
I learned a long time ago while doing the work that I did, to "smile, nod and keep on moving" if I did not want to be nailed down for any length of time.
We bought, we ate, we were informed, and then we smiled and nodded and moved along.
Ready to head back outside and enjoy whatever semblance of blue sky and warm temperatures and wonderful lighting we still had left.............
The front and back sides of a structure that is used very occasionally, as temporary housing for visiting INL folks.
The exterior is run down and I have never seen inside but have no expectation of the rooms being anything but basic and run down as well.
What I DO love about this place (that is more often empty than not) are the trees, the sun peeking through the trees late in the day, the bright yellow paint that is only brighter in this kind of sunlight, and that provides a very welcome shot of uninterrupted color when the days are nothing short of grey and freezing cold.
It's a beat up cluster of a building.
And I like it................
A few days later I walked alone with my dog.
The late day - as it almost always is here in Atomic City - was empty and silent, and the sky was again impossibly blue.
As we left the house and headed down the middle of roads towards the back of town, I looked up at the sky and saw this very long, elongated puffy cloud breaking up the blueness above me.............
Kory and I wandered up and down quiet streets.
Her looking and jumping and sniffing and investigating the way pups do, and me looking around me at the unexpected changing color of the world.
When we had left the house the sun was rapidly beginning to make its decent, and over the course of 30 minutes the world began to take on a variety of pinks and faded purples.
The bright world was turning into a beautiful purple world.
Kory saw her before I did.
Mildly startled by my dogs' sudden stop and posture of alertness I looked to my left.
She was silently looking at us through the spaces in the corral.
If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you will see the beautiful, lone doe, regarding a woman and a dog from a safe distance.................
Kory and I had both stopped moving, and as we all continued to silently stare at each other I glanced over towards Big Butte to see what the sky looked like.
It was early sunset and I snapped this quick picture before turning back to the doe.
Slowly she began to wander away, and crossed the street before disappearing behind an old abandoned cinder block building................
The entire world was changing before my eyes.
In one direction was a beautiful sunset.
In the opposite direction was all the shades of pale pink and red and purple that you could imagine.
Our doe had disappeared, having decided that she had had enough of us.
We pass small and large groups of them every single night in town, and as we do I pull Kory closer to me so that she does not disturb them.
I have been as close at 10 feet from a doe. Surprising and not usual, but wonderful when it happens.
Meandering our way back towards the house I made one more impromptu stop.
I had full intentions of walking straight back to the house where I knew that both coffee and a fire were waiting for me.
As we got close though, I looked down a completely snow covered county road and saw the moon hanging low over one of the Twin Buttes.
The world really did look magical with the snow and the colors, and impulsively I pulled Kory down the snow-covered gravel road only a short way, before snapping this picture.
Smiling to myself and then reaching down to kiss Kory on top of her head and pull on one of her ears, we turned around and headed for the house.............
Twilight fell. The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars..........JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix