Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pewter Mornings, Pewter Afternoons

The past almost-week has been filled with cloud and frozen mist and ice.
Winter in the Snake River Plain of south east Idaho.
In the middle of winter life has been quiet.
When we walk with Kory the stillness and quiet of the area is stunning.
Welcome and absolute.
And absolutely welcome.
I had looked up weather stats for the area before we bought the house, and wondered how there could be so much more vegetation here (particularly on BLM land) than there was on BLM in and around Cody Wyoming.
After living through a good part of this winter I think I know the answer.
The frozen mist.
From early in October the nights have wavered between very cold and very freezing cold.
By morning the world around us would be completely white.
Every sage bush, every tree branch, every piece of every type of grass that grows in this desert area would be covered with frost.
During most days the frozen ice crystals that covered everything would melt into the ground, only to be repeated the next night, and then the next.
For months on end.
The frozen world around us was unexpected.  Before we moved to this area of Idaho I had thought that winter here may be filled with snow (as it had been over some winters) but may very well also be nothing more than endless grey days and endless brown and beige terrain (as still other winters of the past have been).
It had never occurred to me that Atomic City would be trapped in a wonderful and unending world of frosty ice crystals.
It hasn't snowed in well over a month but every morning the world is white again................
Even on days when the world is consumed with frozen mist so thick that the sun has no hope of piercing it, there are small shots of color all over Atomic City.
Shots of color like the one below.
A picture of a small, bright red rooster yard decoration, found hanging from a tree in a front yard..........
I haven't seen the doe who limps recently.
I am hoping that she is surviving this winter.
Through the warm months our city deer roam on BLM land and only wander into town late in the evening, when it is almost dark.
Through the winter they are almost continuously seen within the city limits.
Now that mating season seems to be done the herds have again broken into two, instead of the one large herd that we saw a couple of months ago.
I love them.
I love having them here.
And the funny thing is........even though some residents curse their presence during the summer because the deer eat their vegetables and trees and bushes and flowers, residents also feel protective of them.
They may be a pain in the rear, but they're OUR pain in the rear.
So seems to be the general consensus............
The empty and old school house...........
I snapped these pictures one early morning as I was wandering with Kory.
It was freezing cold and the world (as it always is on these kinds of mornings) was grey, socked in, cold, and silent.
As we wandered just a little, and as I waited for Kory to do whatever Kory needed to do first thing in the morning, I absently snapped random pictures of our white world.
Looking up at the sky I could see pale shades of red and purple and I knew that the sun was trying valiantly to break through the mist...............
Kory had finished her puppy-business but suddenly I was not in any hurry to walk back to the house.
I was dressed in pj's and wearing slippers I had bought in Alaska, as well as a winter jacket and wool hat.
I knew that I must have been quite a sight, only there was nobody to see me and so I didn't care.
Instead, I walked up and down a piece of property that was actually part of the county, mesmerized by winter sights and a continually changing sky................
My very sweet and wonderful dog covered in ice crystals.
After first being afraid of the snow and ice, she now loves to play in it.
She is a sweet spirit.  Fast as the wind.  Protective of the house.  A dog who loves to run wildly over and over, up and down the hall inside the  house until she exhausts herself.
In less than two months she has become a beloved member of our family..............
These pictures were all taken on Christmas morning.
We had only been awake for a short period of time but Kory was insistent.
As I watched her wander between me and LC I could see the silent pleading in her eyes.
My dog needed to run and she would not be deterred..
The temperature gauge outside the front window told me that it was 10 degrees.
As with so many other mornings, Atomic City was mired in thick and frozen mist.
Unlike the pictures above though, the weather forecast told us that THIS mist was not going to lift.
On Christmas Day there would be no sunshine, or warmth, or melting ice crystals.
This mist would stay with us all day.
I'm not sure what LC thinks of these kinds of days, but I love them.
There is a beauty and stillness and solitude to these kinds of days that you don't see when the sun is shining and the sky is completely blue.
With pups' boundless energy trying to burst out of her long, lean body I hurriedly got dressed and bundled up in preparation to head outside.
It was a beautiful day.
A day best enjoyed from the comfort of my warm living room, while still wearing pajamas and drinking an over sized mug of hot coffee, but that was not to be.
A picture of my guy and my dog heading towards BLM land............
As soon as we hit BLM we set our puppy free to do what our puppy loves so much to do.
She needed to run free, and LC and I smiled to each other as we watched her.............
We didn't stay long.
It was just too cold, but we stayed as long as we could stand it because our pup was having a wonderful time doing what she needed and wanted to do.
Merry Christmas Kory Jean................
The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time. Frost glimmered on the morning fields. Crows called across the pewter afternoons...........James Carlos Blake, Wildwood Boys

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