Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Walking With Kory

I saw the rose in the picture above just a few days ago.  A lone surviving bloom when all the rose bushes have now faded back into simple greenery ...............

I remember very clearly watching the weather forecasts for Atomic City as we were preparing to move from Cody over to Idaho.
It was mid July, and instead of the typical weather icons showing welcoming bright balls of yellow surrounded by blue sky, the icons were blazing orange.
Orange full sunshine surrounded by an orange and yellow sky.  
I looked at the graphics for the coming week, and then read the temperatures that hovered close to 100 degrees, and I wondered what the hell we had done.
We were moving from the high plains desert of Cody Wyoming to the high plains desert of Atomic City Idaho.
According to Map Quest it was only 294 miles.
But looking at those orange balls of sunshine, it suddenly seemed like a world away.
By the time we finally made the move a week later, the NOAA icons were yellow and blue again, but for the rest of July and through the entire month of August last year we struggled to manage the brutal, dry heat.
July this year thankfully never hit the high temperatures of last year, although it was still very hot and dry.
August so far this year has been completely different from what we struggled through last year.
As I write this blog it is pouring with rain outside and temperatures are around 55.
We have had an astonishing amount of rain over the past week.  I didn't know that it could rain this much in this place, and although the locals tell us that this is not usual, it is never-the-less extremely welcome.
A few weeks ago the green that we had seen in the spring desert had predictably faded into the scorched, sun-burned, faded beiges of the dead of summer.
Now much of it is green again.
An unexpected gift of rain and moderate temperatures.
We'll take it.....................

We weren't here last spring, and so this spring it was one more unexpected gift when I realized that the entire town of Atomic City was filled with wild rose bushes.
Yard after yard was filled for a time with beautiful bright yellow roses.
Only not in our yard.
Apparently our yard from back to front was fenced at one time, and apparently the fence was lined also from back to front with rose bushes.
The previous owners pulled down the fence rather than try to fix it when it began to teeter, and the rose bushes became a casualty of that endeavor.
Who on earth would do such a thing?
Not long after we moved into the house last summer we worked hard to surprisingly and successfully bring a yard that was filled with nothing but dead and dying brown grass back to life, after years of neglect.
I also spent a lot of time walking every inch of the back and side yard with a heavy magnet on a string, looking for metal objects.
Previous owners had randomly burned random things in random fire pits, and because of that the yard was filled with seemingly endless pieces of metal - nails, screws, springs, wire, all manner of household and garage junk that had been burned down but which had left tire puncturing metal in its place.
It was disconcerting just how much metal I found.  Over and over I walked and magnetized until I thought for sure that I had found it all.  And then I walked some more, and found still more.
Who on earth would so such a thing?
I am still amazed at how little consideration this house has been given over the years...................

Life has been slow and quiet and stressful for reasons undisclosed.
I have spent a lot of time walking with my dog in town and outside of town recently, and am desperately in need of.........something.
I remember these sage bushes last summer.
There are various types of sage bushes in the area.  Much of it is the rugged, woody, gnarly, twisted, faded green sage of Wyoming.
But there is also a different kind of sage here - the kind that is more fragile, softer, greener, and that develops bright and beautiful yellow flowers in August.............
If you click on this picture you will see the deer.  
Barely because they are located at the end of the alley way, but they are there.
As I was walking with Kory the other day I saw them in the yard of the little, run down motel that we have here in town.
I saw movement behind the trees in the yard and even though I knew instantly that the movement was deer, it took me a few moments to realize which ones they were.
It was the mother with one baby, and the mother with the twins, and this nursery of deer skittishly ran through the yard and down the alley and did not stop until they were a long way from Kory and I.
They are predictably nervous and high strung and wary of people even though they see Kory and I often as we roam through town.................
What does one even say about this thing?
This horn is attached to the side of a building in town that has been empty of people for years.
Made of cinder block as so many other structures are here in Atomic City, it would at one time have been a small home.  Perhaps a one bedroom and one bath home located on a 1/3 acre piece of property.
I can see through the front window of the building that it is now used simply for storage stacked haphazardly half way up to the ceiling.
Truthfully, it looks like junk.  
Actually (even more truthfully) it is obviously junk, and whenever I walk by I wonder why the owner (whoever and wherever the owner actually is) doesn't empty the place out and just sell out.
To me it is simply a place where I remember seeing 15 does and two bucks grazing in the back yard last fall.
An extraordinary, wonderful, evening-sunlit experience..............
A few days ago I walked the 1/4 mile to the place that LC and I have fondly grown to know as the Hay Bale Field.
It is located just on the outskirts of town, and the Hay Bale Field opens up to endless BLM land in one direction, and a second HBF and the silos in the other direction.
On this day we headed towards the silos, me wandering and walking and Kory happily dancing and prancing.............
The last time I spent time at the silos with Kory she jumped a fence, crossed over the road and disappeared over a rise on BLM land, only to reappear 10 minutes later standing on the roof of the last silo in this picture.
On this day she stayed closer, wandered but returned when I called to her.
I look at the picture above and still cannot believe how much green there is in our high desert world right now..................
Whenever I walk close to the silos, I usually stay in back of them, not wanting to tempt Kory with the sight of the road.
As Kory and I continued to wander on this beautiful, variable, surprisingly mild day (her exploring old hay bales and me randomly snapping pictures) I looked towards the front of the silos and on the spur-of-the-moment decided to head that way.
These silos were very probably built during the 1950's, during the same time frame when the town really came into its own.
A time when the Idaho National Laboratories (aka The Secret Squirrel Lab) opened and when many employees of "The Site" lived in Atomic City.
Now these silos are silent, empty, run down, beginning to slowly and sadly disintegrate.
And I like them anyway..............
As I slowly walked in front of each of the silos I periodically looked back to check on my dog.
I smiled as I realized that she was happily rolling in.........something nasty..........old cow poop or new deer poop or some other kind of random animal poop................
After rolling in animal leftovers I watched as my dog stood up, shook herself and lifted her head in search of me.
I called her name and my dog happily ran in my direction, dancing and prancing and obviously having the time of her life.
Heading close to the entrance of one of the silos, I watched as Kory looked down and studied the huge bed of tumbleweeds that had collected in front of the door.
I called her name but Kory seemed enthralled with the tumbleweed bed in front of her.
She's had rattlesnake shots but I really really did not want my dog jumping into the mess of tumbleweeds.
I knew that she had no idea how deep they were, and I had no desire to wade into that mess to help her if she got scared or injured or caught up in a tangled-mess of prickly branches.
Thankfully she quickly lost interest and headed towards me...............
Heading back towards town.
For a while I walked along the side of the road and did not put Kory back on the leash.
She wandered ahead of me and returned when I called her.  She ran across the road close to the BLM Fire Station to inspect a huge pile of broken concrete pieces that were abandoned in the middle of BLM land.  Again she returned when I called to her.  Something is thankfully beginning to click inside her furry little head................
Looking in the opposite direction from town.
This gravel road leads to the turnoff to Big Butte and Cedar Butte, and if you stay on this road it actually goes all the way to Blackfoot.
It is a bumpy, sometimes teeth chattering experience, but at a time when farms are furiously growing crops and when fields are irrigated and wonderfully green, it is also a pretty drive..............
Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains.............Henry Ward Beecher

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