Monday, January 6, 2014

White Face Of A Winter Day

Cedar Butte is located on BLM land about 8 miles from the center of Atomic City.
It sits alone in the desert, surrounded on all sides by endless flat, sage brush covered land.
It is a very large, relatively flat butte that rests in the shadow (literally and figuratively) of the grand-daddy of buttes, Big Southern Butte.
LC and I explored part of Cedar for the very first time late in the fall, on a very warm and very beautiful day a few months ago.
Since that time we have explored other sections of the butte as well.
Unlike Big Butte, there are multiple trails and multiple access points, and we find something new and different every time we visit.
One day last week we explored yet one more section.
The day was very cold, very calm, very misty, and as it is often in the winter, the grey and icy fog had closed in on us, securely locking the area around our town away from the rest of the world.
We had intentions of letting Kory run free, but (as with the last time we explored Cedar) we changed our minds at the last minute and kept her on leash.
One of these days we are going to have to muster up the guts to let her go.
One of these days.
But twice now we have confronted multiple hills, multiple trails and multiple thick sections of cedar trees, and chickened out.
On this cold and socked in day, we didn't spend a long time exploring.
Instead, we parked our truck in a very large and wide open spot on the front side of the butte, climbed out and prepared to follow the trail that looks as though it may circumnavigate the entire butte.............
As I climbed out of the truck I looked around me.
Visibility was low.
Looking up into the hills, the multiple rises were partially obscured by icy mist.
The world was all the endless shades of grey and white that I had become used to over these past winter months.
As I snapped a couple of quick pictures of the area around us, I looked through the view screen of my camera and realized that my pictures were all black and white.
I could see the sun through the ice and mist.
It was a white and cold orb suspended in the sky, and I absently wondered if it would gather enough strength on this day to burn off the mist, and flood the world with color...........
It hasn't snowed in over a month.
I haven't snow shoed yet this year and want to, and as we began to slowly wander along the trail I wondered if we would have to travel further up the valley in search of snow deep enough to snow shoe.
I continue to be surprised at just how much frost can accumulate on every surface each and every night.
Even though we haven't had snowfall in a while, the light of day brings a brand new world of white almost every morning.
The primary source of water in this desert environment.
The reason there is more vegetation here than the BLM land around our previous home in Cody, Wyoming.
An endless winter cycle of freezing and frosting and melting..............
We only walked for an hour or so in an out-and-back trek along the trail at the base of Cedar Butte.
By the time we got back to our truck I looked down at Kory and realized that our energetic and sweet new pup still had way too much energy remaining for us to go straight home.
My dog needed to run.
Piling back into the truck we headed on snow-covered dirt road back the way we had come.
We were headed back towards the house, but at the same time were also looking for a wide open spot for our dog.
Quickly we found a safe place for her.  
As I climbed out of the truck I grabbed Korys leash, waited for her to jump down and then set her free
Run to your hearts' content girl.............

As she ran like the wind away from us I looked up at the sky again.
The sun was still white and still provided no warmth, but its battle to break through the clouds was being slowly won.
Soon the sun would break through, and the black and white world we were in would transform into blue and beige and the other muted and washed out colors of winter.................
As our Kory ecstatically flew like the wind I watched her and smiled.
She was a happy pup.
A dog who loved to be free.  Who loved to run.  Who loved to feel the joy of running.
I continued to slowly wander further and further into the field watching my girl, as LC found himself a make-shift seat on a pile of rocks in the middle of the desert............
She responds well.
To our voices.  To our whistles.  To our hot dogs.
The game always begins with running free, and then transitions into running and responding and eating.
LC and I are both very glad to have Kory in our lives..............

The white face of the winter day came sluggishly on, veiled in a frosty mist; and the shadowy ships in the river slowly changed to black substances; and the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed filled with the ruins of a forest it had set on fire..........Charles Dickens

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