Sunday, March 2, 2014

Understanding Silence

Maybe it's the weather.
Maybe it's not.
But posting on this blog has taken more mental energy that I have been able to muster lately, so I have been backing off from it a bit.
One day moves into the next and then into the next, while at the same time I also move from one day into the next and then into the next.
A 54 year old woman wandering aimlessly in circles.
Do you remember spinning in circles when you were a little kid, just for the sheer rush of being dizzy when you stopped?
I am surrounded by a silent, empty world in the desert.
Surrounded by an invisible wall of safety (which suddenly reminds of the old Get Smart TV show with its "Cone of Silence")
Surrounded by a silent world, a man who slowly learned to love me and a dog who quickly learned to love me.
Late last week (and instead of simply walking to the back of town and then picking up BLM land trails close by as I so often do with my dog), LC, Kory and I drove a mile outside of Atomic City and turned onto the trail that leads up to the Table Top.
When you see it for the first time, the Table Top looks as though it is simply an uninspiring and low rise.
Barely a blip on the vast desert floor, particularly when compared to the four other major buttes that surround it.
So when LC and I first explored this butte back in September my expectations were very low.
A small rise.  
A buncha rock.  
A buncha sage.  
Since the aka of the Table Top is Rattlesnake Butte, probably also a buncha rattlesnakes.
Instead of having the boringly low key visit that I had expected though, LC and I had a surprisingly good time exploring the surprisingly steep butte.
Since that time in September we have lost our beautiful dog Jamie and adopted our beautiful dog Kory.
Also since that time, the warmth of our first exploration on the Table Top has long been gone from memory, and we have made it through our first long winter in the Snake River Plain of SE Idaho.
On the day we visited the butte last week we didn't stay long because the wind was strong and bitingly cold.  
In fact we stayed on top of the butte for less than 15 minutes before loading back into the truck, slowly driving back down the very steep, narrow, rocky and rutted out trail and driving in search of another place to continue our wanderings of the morning.
We still needed to walk.  Kory still needed to run.
We learn some few things.during this trip though:
1.  The porn magazine that we found entangled in a sage bush during our September trip was gone.
2.  The lone trail that leads up to the butte is now in much worse shape than it was in September.  Presumably due to dirt washing out from the trail - consequently exposing the abundance of rocks and enhancing the ruts.
3.  This was Kory's first venture into hills while off leash since we got her.  Up until now she has run freely only out on the flat open plains.  She did fine.  She did better than fine.
And every time we try new things with our new dog and she does fine, we trust her a little more...........
The snow was completely gone on the day of our Table Top trip.
We have had snow twice more just in the past week, that has fallen overnight and then melted by lunch time the next day.
One of the most fascinating things I see in the desert, is the sky.
The sunsets can be gorgeous.
The cloud formations can be stunning.
And even when the land surface around us appears barren and entirely, boringly beige, the sky is always alive - constantly moving and shifting and forming layer upon layer of pictures that shift without pause.
Looking east towards one of the Twin Buttes.............
I slowed my pace so that I could snap pictures from the top of the butte, realizing that coming up to this place was not such a bright idea after all.
Neither of us had expected such strong winds.  Nether of us had been prepared for how freezing the air felt.
As he walked on one of the trails on top of the butte I watched LC battling the strong winds.
I smiled as I watched my dog.  She was happily dancing along the trail, excited to be in the hills and experiencing this new place, and completely oblivious to the cold.
She's a happy girl...............
Tiny, obscure, over-named Atomic City, standing alone and barely visible in the middle of the desert.
The Borah Mountain Range and the Big Lost River Valley to the north................
Big Butte, 18 miles away.............
He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.........Elbert Hubbard 

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