Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sanctuary In The Desert

It has snowed three times so far this late fall and early winter.
Twice we have received snow, it has lasted for a few days, and then mild temperatures have predictably melted it away.
This morning we woke up to a few inches of snow, but with the temperature outside now 40 degrees, this third round will also disappear quickly.
On a day in between snow, LC, Kory and I drove out to the 8 Points.
It is only about three miles or so from town down first gravel roads and then a long and rutted out trail onto BLM land, and LC and I first found this place not long after we got Kory last year.
The 8 Points (as we named them) is a series of huge rocky hills that somehow and some way developed in the center of a vast expanse of flat ground.
They are all close together, filled with small flowers in the spring and desert grasses and sage bushes all year long.
There are eight of them, and all three of us love to explore them, climb on them, sit on them and use binoculars to look out over not only the endless desert that surrounds us, but also the endless mountain ranges in the distance that all surround us.
This is the place where we first set Kory free to run.
It was a freezing cold and completely sunny day and the entire world was covered with snow.
For the first time I unhooked our new pup from her leash.  I had been walking her on leash for a month after we got her - giving LC's back time to heal.  Giving our new sweet girl a chance to bond with both of us, to get to know town, to get to know the area, time to let her understand her new world that was so different from the world that she had known.
Both LC and I had expected her to wander.  Maybe run off in exploration and ignore our calls to return.  But we did not expect the reaction that she had.
I had been walking Kory on the snowy traill.
Unclipping Kory from her leash, she turned and immediately began to run in a full sprint.
 She ran to LC, she ran past LC, she ran past the truck and sprinted down the trail away from us, not hesitating for one moment.
LC and I just stood looking at each other, stunned.
NEITHER of us had expected that.
One second she was happily walking on leash and five second later she was gone.
LC and I walked back to the truck, climbed in, turned it around in the snow, and began slowly driving the trail back in the direction she had headed.
Five minutes later we could see her.
She was way way WAY down the trail, at least three quarters of a mile in front of us, and still blindly running at full speed.
LC beeped the horn.
She kept running.
He beeped again, and then a third time, and that stopped her in her tracks.
We stopped the truck.  Kory had stopped running and had turned to look in our direction.
We beeped the horn one more time, and finally our dog turned and began running back in our direction.
Deep breath and sigh of relief from us.
We climbed out of the truck, stood and watched as our new dog sprinted back up the trail towards us.
We had already decided to not over-react when she returned.  To praise her.   To pet her and love on her and let her know that she did a very good thing by coming back.
That seems like such a long time ago, but it was really only about a year ago................

We have been out to 8 Points many times since that first time with our pup.
And we went out there again a few days ago.
Parking the truck just off trail, I opened my door, and before I could even climb out my dog had already crawled down onto the floorboard, squeezed between my knees, and hoped down onto the wide open desert floor.
I was not worried about her.
After a year of ups and downs both LC and I have increasing trust in our beautiful dog.
She would wander.  She would run.  She would happily explore whatever caught her interest.  But she would return when we called her..................

The story of her first free run:

And one more story of visiting 8 Points last winter:
Kory was already headed for the top of one of the hills as LC headed in that direction, and as I pulled up the rear, looking around me and snapping random pictures...............
After LC had spent some time looking at the world through binoculars he handed them to me.
I could see every nook and cranny of the Twins, and of Big Butte and Cedar Butte.
Looking west and north I could see the bends and folds of the wall of mountains.
Everything looked so beautiful.
I wished then (and wish now) that my camera could capture everything that I saw...............
As with so many other pictures of the desert that I take, distances and elevations in pictures mean nothing.
We were in the middle of a vast open area, with only these eight tall hills breaking up the terrain.
It looked like a moon scape................
 If you enlarge, the tiny town of Atomic City is visible (barely) in the far off distance.............
It was just a small and quiet adventure, as our trips out to the 8 Points always are.
There is something very cathartic about going there.
There is never.........ever..........anyone else out there but us.
There is never........ever.........anyone on any of the many trails that (almost un-noticed) silently wind their way through the desert.
It is a silent and wonderful and serene place, and perhaps (more so than it being because of wonderful and curious rises) that I why I like this place so much.
And (as we always do) we climbed on each one of the hills.
Just like little kids.  Needing to climb to the top of each rocky point.............
I would enter the desert alone, to leave in the sand endless footprints only to be obliterated by the wind, to walk the same path each day expecting the same path tomorrow, and perhaps to cease wondering at the bloom and wither of lilies only to linger for death. But no, even in the desert, I would seek a new sanctuary, to contemplate a grain of sand in a sea of dryness...........Leonard Seet, Meditation On Space-Time

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