When we first moved to Atomic City people told us that our area commonly experienced inversions during the winter.
Since we had been pre-warned, I wasn't surprised when early in the winter our area began to regularly find itself wrapped in thick and grey icy mist.
What HAS been surprising to me though is just how common and isolated these inversions actually are.
There have been many days this winter when we have left our mist-enveloped little town and driven either towards Arco or towards Blackfoot, only to break through the mist and be greeted with endless blue sky and warmth.
On our return trips we watch as the blue gradually but irrevocably fades back into icy mist.
I find it interesting but don't hate it.
It almost feels as though we are safely wrapped inside our very own private universe that is tightly secreted away from the rest of the world.
The frozen mist provides water to a desert that is thirsty for water.
It settles on every surface, so that a region that has seen little snow so far this winter constantly turns into a new winter wonderland each time it happens.
Sometimes the mist doesn't burn off all day.
Sometimes it does.
Whether the day is grey and closed in, or whether the day is freezing cold with endless blue sky, I find it all beautiful.
Yesterday, we were lucky enough to experience both of those options.
In the morning LC and I (armed with sandwich bags of sliced hot dogs) cut our way through the frozen mist and wandered with our pup.
The morning was freezing cold, absolutely silent and still, and it felt as though we had the whole world to ourselves.
We walked for only a few minutes before hitting socked in BLM land in back of town and then set our pup free to run and roam.................
Somewhere - out there - was the Table Top Butte.
It was gone. So were the twins and so were Cedar and Big Buttes.
Visibility was low, the fog wrapped itself tightly around us, and we spent quiet time in an outdoors that was truly outstanding.
And absolutely freezing cold..................
LC and I spent a couple of hours after returning to the house installing base boards around the laundry room, trying successfully to cover the mess previous owners had made to the bottom of the sheet rock.
There are so many places in the house where we have looked and seen the beginnings of a good idea, but also a complete lack of quality follow through.
We continue to fix things that were half-heartedly done, and completely re-do things that were straight up horribly done.
Putting baseboards around rutted-out sheet rock was one of those instant gratification projects - little work with big payoff.
Busy with the laundry room I hadn't paid a lot of attention to what the world was doing outside our front door.
So it was an unexpected surprise when late in the afternoon I got geared up to walk with Kory through town.
Somehow my pup seems to know when it is time to walk again.
Such is the regular routine that we have happily established together over the past just-over-two-months that we have had our Florida dog.
As I pulled on a pair of boots amid the ecstatic barking of a Kory ready to head outside, I looked out the front room window and suddenly realized that the world was clear.
Grey, frozen mist is beautiful, but so is blue winter sky.
It was still about 20 degrees (the same as it had been that morning), but when we walked outside I instantly felt the difference in how the air felt against my exposed skin.
What a difference a few hours can make.
Smiling at the lovely white world around me, I looked down at Kory who was ready to GO.
OK Baby.........we're goin'................
As we wandered down the middle of the main road in town I looked around me, completely enthralled with the combination of absolute blue sky and absolute white world.
The sun was shining but it was still cold, and the frozen icicles that had greeted us that morning were holding strong.
Pulling on Kory's leash, we wandered off the road and into the tiny community park.
Walking over to the fence I snapped a few quick pictures of a completely frozen motor speedway............
Walking across the empty road, we headed up and down more empty roads, slowly making our way to the back of town.................
I love this picture because all I see when I look at this eclectic collection of work implements is art.
I love the way these functional items are attached and laid out on the outside of a small storage building and sometimes I feel as though locals are surreptitiously looking through the curtains of the their windows and wondering just what the heck I am taking pictures of.
I see art in things that I don't think others see................
We had been wandering for a little over 30 minutes and (still in the back of town) I saw the deer quietly grazing in a large open field..............
Their large and healthy brown bodies stood out against the back drop of frozen ground and frozen trees, and Kory and I stood silently in the middle of the road enjoying the peaceful sight of them.
The younger buck was with the herd of about 9 or so does. I haven't see the big buck in a while. I also still haven't seen the doe with the healed broken leg in a while.
Most of the deer were grazing in the field, but there were a few also grazing alongside the road, and after watching them for a few minutes they all - as one - gradually began to move.
Still standing in place I watched as they single file began to head towards the large open storage building and the four silos at the far end of town.
I had pulled Kory closer to me hoping to keep her quiet and as I continued to watch the herd slowly head towards the outskirts of town, I stole a look at my dog.
She was attentive - totally focused on the deer - and completely silent.
Mesmerized as she always is (and as I always am) by the sheer wonderful sight of them.
I still don't think that she knows what to make of these strange beasts.............
Click on any picture and it will begin a slide show of enlarged pictures..............
When they had wandered far enough away from us I slowly began to walk again, and my pup followed suit.
I continued to snap pictures of these very beautiful guys, all the while enamored by how beautiful they all looked against the white backdrop of the world at that moment in Atomic City.
When I got home I immediately downloaded the pictures, eager to see how they turned out, and was frankly stunned.
When I look at this picture I see something really nice, but also something that looks like an optical illusion.
It doesn't look like it in the pictures, but the deer were over 1/4 mile from the four silos.
The Table Top Butte in the background was about two miles from the silos.............
There are times when I am tempted to walk without my camera.
But if I did that I would miss pictures of such things as deer traveling together, with frozen desert, silos and buttes in the background.
There will be more deer sightings and more frozen desert. The silos will still be there and so will the Table Top.
But that very INSTANT when it all comes together, can never be replicated...............
My view in real time and real distance, instead of the zoomed-in pictures I snapped above............
My dog and I spent a very long time watching the deer and then finally walked away from them, turned down a side road and continued with our walk.
I had found a totally unexpected and special moment and as I wandered with Kory I was pleased.
The day was completely gorgeous and (as it always does), the evening light made the world look very special.............
The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us................Ashley Montagu