Saturday, January 4, 2014

Compelling Stories

Winter in Atomic City, Idaho is a never-ending and always-interesting combination of freezing cold and bright sunshine, and grey, socked-in whiteness that consumes the town and makes it feel as though our little community is all alone in the entire world.
One day last week I walked in town with Kory.
Snow and freezing ice crystals covered the road and clung to the trees.
The world was sunny and cold, crisp and silent.
The past few days we have had temperatures above freezing, and most of the snow is now melted.
But last week the world was still covered in the white that I love and the white that Kory loves to play in.
You can barely see the local resident four-wheeling through town, and I smile and simply shake my head in the realization that nobody ever walks here.
The lady who lives in back of us drove over to the house a couple of weeks ago.
Cutting through her yard and then our yard we are all of 500 feet apart.
I heard a story recently of a woman years ago who let her dog run through town for exercise, and she drove her car to follow the dog.
Do people really DO those kinds of things?
Apparently they do, but I wouldn't have believed it until I had seen and heard about it here..........

When LC and I first visited Atomic City last April or so, we saw this structure and at first thought that it was  bleacher seating.
It is a very large, open storage building and open shelter, and is located in the middle of an empty field on the outskirts of town.
I have no idea what its original purpose was, but aside from an assortment of useless items that wouldn't seem to be worth storing or keeping, the structure is now little more than an open storage container for tumble weeds.
Regardless, it is architecturally interesting, and a focal point in a town that has few focal points................
When I first moved to this little, nothing, desert town I wondered if I would struggle to find things that were worthy of pictures.
In reality, and surprisingly, I haven't.
I have wandered every nook and cranny of this town on foot and just when I get to the point that I think I have seen all there is to see, I find something new.
When I don't find something new, I find compelling things that always look different depending on a handful of variables.
The time of day.  The lighting.  The weather.  The season.
The four abandoned silos (located only a block from the huge storage building) have always been one of my favorite local photographic subjects.
While the shelter above is on the outskirts of town, the silos are 1/4 mile outside the city limits.
They are wonderfully weathered, seemingly long abandoned, and they stand silently looking out over the vastness of the desert.
They watch over the town.  Watch over the desert.  Watch over Cedar Butte and Big Butte in one direction, and the Twin Buttes in the other direction.
They are solid and strong and unyielding, and geometrical in both their design and their placement.
Kory has walked onto the roof of one of them.
I have photographed them from a distance and up close, in the unending heat of summer and in the freezing cold of winter.............
Although Kory runs off leash often now, we continue to keep her on leash while in town.
Too many things for an energetic and curious dog to get into.
Kory chased after a snow shoe rabbit (a huge jack-rabbit that is totally white except for the tips of his ears which are dark grey) about a week ago while running on BLM land.
She ran like the wind chasing after the rabbit until (as LC said) "she put him in a different zip code", before finally returning to us.
But the point is that she DID return to us.
I have seen the jack rabbit in town and Kory would chase it.  A dog at the far end of town harassed the deer one day early in the winter, and one of them injured the dog in self-defense.  
And the coyotes.
Two nights ago the town was completely enveloped in thick icy mist.  As soon as I took Kory outside she was on alert and lunged for the trees across the road.  A minute later LC and I heard them.
The coyotes were in the trees in front of us, in the tall, frozen grasses of the property next door, lost in the icy mist not far down the road from us.
There were a lot of them in many directions, and between the howling of the coyotes and the lack of visibility from the thick fog, the world outside our front door was suddenly transformed into a very eerie place.
So going outside at night time unarmed never happens, and neither does Kory being off leash in town...........
A wonderfully geometric yard ornament leaning almost un-noticed up against the wall of an outbuilding..............
One of the accesses to BLM land...............
There is something very intriguing and beautiful to me about this entire picture.
It contains an old log building.
An old chicken coop.
An old wooden table and old wooden electric wire spool, a metal frame and old, stacked hay bales.
Nothing goes together.  
Nothing  is currently being used, and all of these things were just thrown down in this place without thought or care.
Just a place to carelessly toss items that the owners no longer care about or use, but which they also couldn't find the time to dispose of properly.
And yet..........for all that lack of caring, somehow the entire picture also tells a compelling story.
At least it tells ME a story.
Click on the picture and it will enlarge and maybe it will tell the reader of this blog a story as well.............
Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we aren't perfect...........Mister Rogers

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