Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter Tightens Its Grip

I spend a lot of time alone with my dog.
We walk twice each day when other things don't get in the way.
We have walked twice a day every day since the day we picked Kory up at the airport and brought her to her new home.
One morning she was in the warmth of Tampa Bay in Florida, and that same afternoon she found herself with strangers in a cold new place called Idaho.
We walk everywhere. 
Often simply in circles - wandering up and down the few streets that make up Atomic City, and I watch her and am completely enamored with her.  
Because every trip up and down those same few streets is a new and wonderful adventure for her.
We walk to the Hay Bale Field often, because it is only a few minutes from the house and she can quickly be sprung from the bondage of her leash and quickly be free to run.
We also often wander the trail that leads to the back of a large piece of private land adjacent to BLM land, circle around it and pick up one more trail that takes us to the opposite side of town.
And then there is the endless desert, with its buttes, its small hills, its endless stretches where this is nothing but sage brush and desert grasses and holes big and small in the ground that are homes to desert creatures, some cute and some not so much.
Life is very quiet in this tiny, isolated, nothing community in the middle of nowhere.
I am hiding in this tiny town that is surrounded by unbearably expansive and empty desert.
Hiding from life.  Hiding from the world.  Hiding from myself.
Living in a silent retreat.
Trying to find............what the hell am I trying to find?
I don't even know the answer to that.
Maybe because the reality is that there is nothing to find.
Trying to regroup but not really able to and not really trying, and not surprisingly I find myself only in limbo.
In that strange state between being and.......not. 
I remember being a kid and thinking how wonderful it must be to be an adult, because adults seemed to have all the answers.
Now I know that not only do adults not have all the answers, but sometimes they get to the point where they don't even know the questions.
I also remember a time as I was growing up, when "hippies" were all trying to find the Meaning Of Life, and even as a kid I looked on these people (who were only a few years older than me) with disdain.
Stop hitting that tambourine and get a job.  Take a shower.  Get a a haircut.  Buy normal clothes for goodness sakes.
How long can a woman live without confronting her life head on?  
When does she stop being afraid that there IS no meaning to life?
Or at least, no meaning to HER life...............
Chris turned 29 last week.
I tried to call him but the call went straight to voice mail, and so I left him a message and then sent him an email.
I always thought of him as "my youngest son" and I can't call him that anymore, but to think of him just as "my son" is too painful.
He is well.  I think.  I hope.  I think............
I need to always carry a gun with me when I walk.
Often I will leave it at home when I intend to just wander inside the city limits, but often those intentions get unceremoniously thrown out the window on the spur of the moment when initial plans change, and me and my dog veer off town roads and head into the open-ness of the desert.
 I know that we have many coyotes out in the desert because I hear them often.  Seeing so many tracks in the snow is a visible (and visceral) reminder of their presence.............
It was close to dark one day last week and my four legged hiking companion and I headed towards the Hay Bale Field.
We had already circled through town, but a woman can only walk in circles so many times before her screaming brain screams for something different.
As so I veered off the gravel road, called to Kory to stop walking, and then reached down to unclip her from her leash.
Instantly she ran into the field, and I watched her as she danced and pranced and quickly circled her way around the entire field, before happily returning to me for a moment and then taking off in a joyful run again.
The snow had quickly melted over the course of a few warm days, and I looked towards the mountains hoping that it would snow again soon.
While others who live in town either retreat to warmer southern states for the winter, or hibernate inside their homes here in Atomic City, I embrace winter.
The world is beautiful in the winter.  
The days and nights are cool and then cold and then freezing, and the winds howl in that deep and echoing way that you only hear in the winter.
There is a  raw beauty and strength to winter.
An anger and brutality in winter that calls to me.  Almost as though the weather is trying day by freezing day to match the deep and echoing anger and brutality that is my own.............
I watched in quiet bemusement as my very sweet pup began alternating between brief periods of sprinting, with longer periods of nose-inserting investigating.
Nose buried deep within thick rows of tumbleweeds she animatedly jumped and scurried, popped her head up and then dove back into the tumbleweeds again..............
With some daylight still remaining, we headed over towards the silos.
The sky was beautiful and (although the silos were facing to the east) it was also changing colors rapidly.
The world was fading into night, and standing in the middle of a large field I looked beyond the silos and the Twin Buttes, and then turned to face Big Butte and Cedar Butte to the west............
In March I found the Face Book page of one of my brothers.
I sent him a brief message from LCs page saying this is Karin - let me know if you get this message.
Eight months later I received a reply.
Apparently he does not check his Face Book page very often...........

He is one year younger than me (just as all my sibling are a year apart, with the exception of the youngest one).
He had a rough time as he was growing up, and of all of my siblings he was probably the one that I was the closest to.
We have exchanged a few messages over the past 24 hours and it was good to hear from him.
I haven't seen or spoken to him since the boys were very little................... 
There are six of these large, concrete circles laying in the field immediately in front of the silos.
I am not sure if they are part of the well pumps or a cistern system, but something related to a watering system none-the-less.
On this day, covered in a thin coating of snow, in their totality they looked like a serene and beautiful piece of art..................
As I walked around them I looked at them, surprised.
It had not snowed in a number of days and I was surprised to see some of the circles had been untouched. With the exception of a few rabbit paw prints...............
As Kory and I were heading towards the front of the silos I looked to my right.
In an adjoining field there are almost endless piles of hay, stacked high and abandoned.
I stood and studied them on this rapidly fading day, as I have many times before, wondering why these bales were simply stacked, abandoned and forgotten.
Who does that??
As with the beautiful old trucks that stand silently in a straight row not far from where I stood, and as with other things that litter this town, I had no idea.
There are so many things and so many buildings in this town that nobody gives any thought about.
Even the house we bought.  It was obvious that it was a good and sound house, but even as we walked through it the very first time, it was also obvious that nobody had cared about it in a very long time..................
We had very little time left before the day would finally turn into night.
It was time to go home..............

I have come to regard November as the older, harder man's October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer's death as winter tightens its grip................Henry Rollins

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