I went to visit a lady in town the other day.
For all intents and purposes she is a shut-in.
I think of her as being an old woman but in actuality she is only a few years older than me, and is actually a few years younger than LC.
But she acts old.
She asked me if I would take pictures of her before she loses her hair. She is on medication and apparently her very long grey hair is falling out by the handfuls because of it.
She is a very hard woman to like, and in reality I don't like her very much.
Needy. Lonely. Gossipy. Self serving. Manipulative.
There have been times (out of common courtesy and simple humanity) that I have wanted to drop by to see how she is doing because she has been all but abandoned by her husband who works out of state.
But all of the qualities that I neither like nor respect quietly bubble to the surface in infrequent conversations, and so I drop by very little.
I didn't move to Atomic City so that I could adopt a manipulative woman who is almost sixty years old.
Other residents do not drop by for the same reason, and so a woman who desperately wants company has succeeded in almost alienating herself within the community.
After taking pictures of her the other day and then making polite conversation before leaving (smile, nod, keep on moving) I walked outside into the snow.
She has a really nice yard. Big, filled with trees and bushes, overlooking the mountains to the north.
Right outside her front door two tall and whimsical wooden characters stand guard over the yard...............
The old-not-so-old woman has many other interesting things sitting under trees and hanging from trees that I find artistic and whimsical and cute as all get out, but on this day I did not take the time to photograph them.
As I walked down the snowy path that led to the driveway, I looked to my right and against a small tool shed stood these old metal wheels and a metal grate.
Covered in snow (and surrounded by snow covered sage bushes) I was drawn to their shape and metal texture.
Geometrical, forgotten pieces of rusty art partially
hidden among the softness of snow covered sage ............
After I got back to the house I pulled off boots and hat and gloves and scarf, and then went in search of LC.
Surprisingly he was not in the office, but before I had a chance to continue with the search he rushed from the garage and then through the laundry room door.
Startled, I smiled at him and he smiled back.
"Where's your camera?"
"The big buck's in the back yard"
Making a grab for my camera I threw on a pair of LC's old shoes that were sitting in the laundry room, and we quietly walked out into the................well............it'll be a sun room one day.
Looking through the bank of old windows I could see him.
This gorgeous boy was contentedly nibbling on the remnants of leaves on bushes next to the back fence, and one doe was with him.
As LC and Kory stood by the windows I quietly opened the back door and slipped outside.
As soon as the door opened the buck was instantly on alert, and so I moved slowly.
I slowly closed the door behind me and then stood motionless watching this huge buck.
Half of the green house had already been torn down so I could easily see these two unexpected visitors as I stood by the door.
Slowly lifting my camera I began to snap pictures.
Click on any picture and it will enlarge...................
Even that small movement spooked my two beautiful deer.
I smiled as I watched the doe walk over to the edge of the snow fence.
Up until about two months ago there had been a big gap between the snow fence and the tall privacy fence, and whenever the deer ventured into our yard they would use that gap as a way to move on to the alley way and then other resident yards.
The doe had walked over to that same spot expecting to be able to make a break there, and after a few seconds the buck followed her................
Walking back along the fence line first the doe jumped the fence, followed quickly by the buck.
I captured a picture of the buck making the jump but with the tree in the way it was impossible to know exactly what you were looking at so I did not post it.
It turns out that the only way to see a buck make this easy jump over the fence was to be standing by a back door without a jacket, while wearing over sized running shoes.................
After a couple of days of extreme cold weather, and after another couple of days of snow, the sun finally came out.
On this stunningly sunny and cold day I wandered on BLM land with Kory during the day (a blog post for another time) and then walked in town late in the day with both my dog and my guy.
It was about 4:45, the sun was already beginning its free fall down onto the horizon over Cedar Butte and Big Butte, and the temperature (that had been cold throughout the day) was dropping like a rock.
But it was a beautiful late afternoon.
Endless blue sky. Pure white snow. Air that was crisp and clear and wonderful.
As always at this time of year, the town was silent, and only the sound of our footsteps in the snow echoed in the air...................
A few days ago something caught Korys attention in the sage brush just down the road from the house.
From the excited, animated way that she moved, and from the intensity and length of her time in this one place, I could only guess that there was something small and alive that had caught her attention.
Perhaps a field mouse.
I stood watching my dog that first time, enjoying the sight of her enthusiastic search and smiling as she happily bounced in and out of this clump of bushes over and over again.
Ever since that first time, we have to stop in the same place during every walk.
Just in case that same little field mouse is there again, I suppose............
One day a few weeks ago we were walking late in the evening at the edge of the far side of town.
While looking in one direction I suddenly felt a strong tug on the leash.
Jerking my shoulder violently I was surprised at such an abrupt and unexpected movement, and when I looked down at my dog she was pulling on the leash as hard as she could, intent of getting over to the shoulder of the road.
When she is motivated Kory is very hard to pull back, and I found myself (whether I wanted to be or not) pulled into one more clump of sage bushes.
There is no shortage of sage bushes in Atomic City.
I saw the small rabbit a split second before it disappeared, and a split second before Kory jerked violently against the leash one more time.
Gaining both my balance and my whits, I watched as my suddenly animated dog darted in and around bushes, and then pushed her nose as far into a drain (that was partially buried) as she could.
Ten minutes later my dog was still sniffing the drain, but of course bunny was long gone, and had been long gone for a while.
Ever since that time we cannot walk along the side of this road without my pup checking the drain.
Maybe - just maybe - the bunny will make a reappearance.
Such simple pleasures for an animal.
She makes me smile.................
Pictures taken on a walk through some of the icy and snowy streets of town, as the sun was beginning to first fall out of the sky and then finally set over the horizon.
The early evening was cold but very still and very beautiful..............
One of the greatest gifts we receive from dogs is the tenderness they evoke in us. The disappointments of life, the injustices, the battering events that are beyond our control, and the betrayals we endure, from those we befriended and loved, can make us cynical and turn our hearts into flint – on which only the matches of anger and bitterness can be struck into flame. By their delight in being with us, the reliable sunniness of their disposition, the joy they bring to playtime, the curiosity with which they embrace each new experience, dogs can melt cynicism,and sweeten the bitter heart...........Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog