Sunday, May 4, 2014

Winter Is Dead

After a number of false starts over the past month, I think that spring finally, irrevocably, really is here.
At least with temperatures in the low 70's over the past few days, it is easy to persuade myself that it is.
I took these pictures over the course of a couple of days, early last week.
After downloading them onto the blog late last week I left the entire thread in "Draft" mode until now, because the writers block that frequently plagues me these days (much as the sleepless nights that frequently plague me these days) makes for both a creative drought and a blank computer screen.
A blank screen.
A blank screen that silently mocks me, much as a blank mind silently mocks me, forcing the wringing of hands and wonderment as to why it is SO HARD to find words.
When words used to come so easily.
As though the hard wiring in my brain keeps malfunctioning.  A disconnect that prevents words and thoughts from being strung together in sentences that actually make sense and tell a coherent story.
Words used to come so easily
Of course.........sleep used to come easily as well..............

The tiny town of Atomic City is beginning to reawaken from its long winter nap.
The grass in town is green now instead of brown, and most of the trees are turning green and becoming dotted with random birds nests.
The sage brush and desert grasses on BLM land are greenER - as green as the desert ever gets, and certainly greener than it was when we arrived in Idaho last last July.
Snow is still high in the mountains and will remain at least through May.
Visitors are already beginning to make brief appearances in town.  
Some are tourists who simply pass through Atomic City in order to satisfy their curiosity about what a town with the name "Atomic City" actually looks like.  
Others are simply area visitors passing through AC during a quiet drive in the desert.
There are a couple of Peruvian sheep herders out on BLM a mile or so outside of town.  They are living for the summer in a tiny camper and travel on horseback when they are out there.
They and three or four Pyrenees dogs care for over 100 sheep.
The deer have been gone for weeks now, and I remember seeing them very late in the evenings last summer so I hope to see their part-time presence soon.
I miss seeing them as I did throughout the fall and winter, when they all lived in town full time.
The days are warm, the nights are still close to freezing, and the air is wonderfully and absolutely clear.
A beautiful time of year before the daunting dryness and unforgiving heat that will follow too quickly this summer..............
LC and I bought a beast of a camper not long ago.
24 feet long and filled with far too many civilized niceties that we don't really need or want, we recently met someone in Arco who buys smaller and older Kit campers, restores them and sells them.
His son is looking for a beast of a camper for hunting.  
We want a smaller camper for cheaper transporting and easier we'll see what we can all work out.
We still may end up with the Beast and that's OK if we do, but we'll see how it plays out...............
I snapped all of these pictures while walking in and around Atomic City with Kory.
There are 28 people who live in town, with a booming population of 20 during the winter.
A handful of occupied homes, a couple of handfuls of unoccupied homes, large empty lots in town with thousands upon tens of thousands of acres of empty BLM land surrounding it.
The NOAA weather station backed up by the Lemhi and Borah mountain ranges.................
Atomic Motor Raceway, still silent and remaining so until June.
There are only five races in Atomic City this summer.
The rest are being held at the raceway in Poctatello, and that was surprising, unexpected and welcome news..............
Walking in town with Kory early one evening, when the sun was still very warm, the shadows were long and the light was wonderful.
She doesn't seem to care whether she is running freely or walking on leash, as long as she is with one or both of her people and as long as we are going somewhere.  Anywhere.
Just simply being outside, moving and seeing the world pleases her.
Although Kory stays close and comes back to me predictably when we are out on BLM land together, she still wants to run off when we get close to town.
LC and I have decided to just let her go the next time it happens.  See if she finds her way home. 
This morning she and I walked on BLM land.
After being out there for an hour I headed away from the wide open field I had been walking, and began to cut across the field towards the trail.
After an hour of following commands and returning to me regularly, she ran.
Across the field and down the trail and heading towards the road, Kory was 1/4 mile away from me in the blink of an eye.
I blew the whistle a number of times.  Nothing.  Still running away.
And then I blew the whistle, she stopped, turned and looked in my direction.
I wasn't falling for it.  
Kory had stopped once before only a few days earlier.  
When she stopped and turned to look in my direction I thought that she was going to return to me.
Instead, my single minded dog turned back towards town and continued running until she was out of sight inside the city limits.
This morning when she stopped she again turned to look at me.
And then began to sprint back to me.
By the time she returned to me Kory was exhausted.  She sat at my feet in the middle of the field, panting from the exertion of her sprints in both directions. 
Smiling down at her, I knelt down to caress the top of her head, and then I sat beside her in the dirt and petted her, talking to her, telling her what a good girl she was.
We sat together in the middle of a field in the middle of BLM land, and I continued to pet her and talk to her, until she was ready to go again.
She stayed close to me as we walked together, all the way back to the house.................
One more walk later in the evening, when the sun was beginning to set in the west.............
LC, Kory and I were all walking together, and although the day had been very warm the sun was descending rapidly and so was the air temperature.
By the time we got to the northern edge of town it was cold.
It didn't matter.
The air was calm, the sky was clear, we were all walking together and the world was filled with beautiful light and shadow and color...............
I went for a mountain bike ride the other day.
Only the second time in the past two years.
I was alone.  
The day was very warm.  
I went out onto BLM land.
And it felt alright................
She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead".........AA Milne, When We Were Very Young 

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