Friday, October 23, 2015

When Autumn Comes

I was walking with my dog late in the evening earlier this week.
Last week temperatures were in the 70's.
This week they were in the 60's, and now into late October Fall is belatedly settling into SE Idaho.
We have been home all this month.
Finishing outdoor projects before winter comes, as everyone this time of year in this part of the country is doing.
Clearing junk out of the house and out of the yard.  Getting wood cut and stacked and stored in our indoor wood shed.  Cleaning out both stove pipes.  Restaining the fence posts and the wood trim we put up around the exterior of the house in spring, and repainting all the black horses we put up on the side of the house and the side of the shed.
Surprisingly (even though they were all done in the spring), they all needed redoing this fall.
Summer is endlessly sunny, dry and hot.
Winter is endlessly damp, foggy, rainy and snowy.
And the wind occasionally blows strong during both seasons...............

 It was almost dark when we walked and we stayed in town.
 Kory stayed on leash, and we wandered up and down every street in Atomic City.
Two miles in total.
Sometimes an enjoyable two miles, and sometimes a two miles that feels as though I am doing nothing more than wandering in circles inside horror-author Stephen King's head.
The bucks that we saw off and on through the summer were nowhere in sight, but as we walked we came across a number of does and fawns, spread throughout town and hidden among the trees and bushes of resident yards.
 They are everywhere now.  Behind a home.  Under a tree.  Hidden in the sage.  Effortlessly jumping one fence after another in search of something to eat and a place to shelter.
As watchful and wary as ever, 
I am beginning to get to know them again.
The two does who traveled together throughout the summer with their three fawns.
It was one of these does who bluff chased Kory out on BLM land this summer. 
 My excited dog turned, tucked tail and scurried back towards the perceived safety of me.
She did not need my protection as it turned out.  
Momma doe didn't want to hurt.  She only wanted to scare monstrous dog away from baby deer.
She not only succeeded in doing that, but also succeeded in making Kory wary of chasing deer.  
Which is a good thing.
The doe with the front leg injury.
She manages to keep up with the rest of a small herd as they happily wander throughout town, but I worry about how well she will make it through winter.
The young deer with the funky ears.  What's the deal with HER??
I have no idea, but she makes me smile.
They all make me smile, and I welcome their presence.......................
We bought this pink plastic wading pool for Kory this past spring thinking that she would like to play in it when temperatures began to scramble towards the upper 90s in the summer.
For the longest time she ignored it, and then one day we came home from a long walk out in the desert and  my overheated dog stepped into the pool to drink and cool off
It has been her primary water bowl throughout the summer.
She has used the heck out of it.  So have the birds.  So have the rabbits that have been scurrying all over town and the yard this summer.  And now so do the deer.
We'll keep pink-plastic-pool out in the yard until temperatures are very cold, but in the meantime it is still a favorite of our spoiled dog......................
My initial cautious optimism at starting a small business of my own is gradually turning into a growing feeling that what was successful in Cody may not translate well in a tiny town 30 miles removed from the nearest population center.
Can I make it work?  I don't know yet.  I have faith in my abilities and skills, and am prepared to continue trying to move it forward.
We'll see what I can do with it.........................
Taken late in the evening at a time when light and shadow dance across high desert plains, and when wind and cloud formations against a blue sky and brown desert silently whisper calming words to me.
It's hard to hear the words.
The noise in my head usually refuses to stop long enough for me to be able to listen.
Maybe that will change one day.
I don't think that it will change one day............... 

We are closing in on another year.
Holidays are coming non-stop for months now.  
Birthdays.  Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas and a New Year and more birthdays.
 I love this time of year.  
I hate this time of year.......................
When Autumn Comes
Carrie Richards

here, where I walk,
confused silence swirls around my feet,
and the anguished summer leaves
are lingering limp, waiting for autumn...,
waiting to crumble and mingle with earth
drunk with the morning dew

somewhere beneath them
under the thunder
earth wears the scab of a fresh wound
in a place that will not be forgotten...
corrupt with mourning
sprouting with questions
immersed with regret
hollowed with anger
and shadowed by trees of despair

birch-bark faces, heads bent low, shadowed eyes
stone-cold voices, carried in the wind, behind disguise
while mute birds watch without a song
the leaves will decay, green goes, and the eye forgets
forget?  never....
while pawing on the hard and bitter earth
of reason, is impossible...

autumn comes
and autumn goes
I will live in hope that baffled minds
will clearly see a winter sun
and give up blaming ... who?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Deepening Of Autumn

A couple of weeks ago I made a quick out-and-back trip to Blackfoot to engage in banal and boring chore-driven errands.
When I am motivated to complete tasks in town quickly, I can get things done in record time.
I had brought Kory with me because she was as restless as her mama, and my sweet dog patiently watched me and waited for me as I climbed in and out of the Tahoe multiple times in quick succession as I worked to put the chores behind me.
As I climbed back into the Tahoe for the last time I turned back to look at Kory.
Still watching me.  Still patient.  Still beautiful and securely loved.
Looking out of the front window of the vehicle I (for the first time that morning) realized that it was a very beautiful day.
The sun was shining.  
The sky was endlessly and ridiculously blue.
And even though it was very warm. the suffocating dry heat of mid summer was gone.
When I had kissed LC goodbye I had told him that Kory and I would be back as soon as possible.  That I had little desire to either dilly or dally in Blackfoot.
But alternating looks at the sky and then back at my dog persuaded me on the spur of the moment to head for the back of town.
My dog had been so very patient with me, and I needed to reward her.
We would spend a short while walking by the small man-made lake where locals come to cool off during the few hot weather months that we have in SE Idaho..........................
I have talked about this park before in previous blogs.
It is a lovely place located on the back side of town, and it provides a wonderful recreation area for locals.
Over the past year or so Kory and I have walked the perimeter of one large portion of this lake.
We have wandered through shelters and around frisbee gold courses, climbed on childrens play equipment and watched the seagulls that have somehow managed to wander many hundreds of miles inland from the ocean.
We have watched teenage boys fearlessly perform tricks on skateboards without benefit of pads or helmets, and bypassed endless business people and young families eating their picnic lunches.
And we have finally watched children and adults swimming and paddling, and noisily being pulled by very small power boats.
At this time of year the kids were now back in school and the number of people spending time at the park was gradually diminishing.
Days are still warm but nights are now cold, and the water is freezing.
On this day I let Kory take the lead...............
Immediately heading down to the water I watched as my pup predictably waded into the water and drank.
Bending down I placed my hand into the water and confirmed what I already knew.
The water was freezing cold.
Two small children and what looked to be their grandmother were wading in the water further down the beach, and I smiled sadly as I watched the little guys.
Toddlers didn't care about the cold water.  
They never did.  These little guys didn't care.  
My little guys hadn't cared either.............

As we approached one of the platforms that bobbed slowly in the water I watched the birds.
How the hell do seagulls travel so far from the ocean?
I wondered absently, giving the question little consideration because it deserved little consideration, and then I watched the birds some more.
As we got closer most of them took to flight.
Kory was again wading in the cold water, and I looked beyond the lake and at a truck that was speeding by on the interstate.
This park had a lot going for it.  It was a great attribute to a town.  An attribute that allowed residents of the town to enjoy peace and quiet in green space and close to water, without having to leave the city limits.
But it was too civilized for me.  Too noisy so close to the highway.  Too filled with people throughout the summer.  Too.................much.
I liked it better at this time of year.  When the swimmers and frisbee golf players and endless people gave to way to increasing quiet, and while the man made lake was still filled with water.
Soon it will be drained for the winter.  
Leaving an ugly sandy lake bottom in its wake.................. 
The deer are well and truly back in town now.
There are remnants of them all over our yard, and I know that they eagerly come into our yard right now because we still have a big pink wading pool filled with water sitting under a tree.
It has been so warm during the day that all our bushes are trying to grow leaves again.  All of our newly planted irises are trying to grow long leaves again.
I say try because the deer are not only drinking water out of Korys pool, but also feasting on new and tender growth.
It is a little disappointing to see new growth eaten down every morning, but at this point in the year it is not worth worrying about.
I will think about it again in the spring....................
Two pictures taken on BLM land right outside of town in August...................
One of two owls that live in town.
These two owls moved into town a couple of months ago and every night they spend a good deal of time calling to each other while perched in our trees.
We love having them here.
All summer it has seemed like there has been a whole lot of nature surrounding us.
The return of the deer.  
Bunnies everywhere (which has pleased Kory enormously).
We've loved having them here, but growing anything has been a real challenge.  The deer and rabbits eat everything, and what they didn't get this summer the vols got as they burrowed under the ground, happily destroying plant roots as they went.
Antelope on BLM land.
Hawks and owls.
The return of coyotes.  Large packs of coyotes that roam on BLM land both close to the buttes and on the outskirts of town in the mornings. and that roam through town late in the evening.
Even a couple of young elk late one evening early in the summer..................
Taken just a few days ago after a walk on BLM land not far from town..................
All taken a few days ago, while walking late in the evening with my dog.
I don't care if I ever run into another person while walking with Kory, but I am pleased to know that the deer will be here this winter.
THOSE I missed last winter.................
The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn; but it comes gradually. Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day. But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness of the small hours, one can hear it, a foretaste of Winter silence. It’s a little painful now, and a little lonely because it is so strange..................Hal Borland

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Summer Friends - Winter Friends

Well for goodness sakes - I downloaded these pictures over a week ago and now it is a week later.
For the past few week I have thought about this blog and each day fully intended to write some wonderful, creative words to go with these pictures, and every day there has been no energy for either wonderful or creative.
It feels as though this town is quietly imploding in on itself.
Or rather, the people in this town are imploding in on themselves.
We have finally concluded our commitment to the elderly widow that I wrote about a few times.
Everyone in town has known this lady much longer than LC and I have, everyone promised to help her move.
Everyone bailed on her.
There are many things we would have rather spent the last five months doing.
She had a general contractor for a husband.
She had three garage bays filled with power and hand tools.
At over 2500 square feet, this woman had the largest house in town.
She wanted to sell almost everything and significantly downsize to an apartment size amount of stuff.
A house to sell.  A truck to sell.  A lifetimes' worth of home and work gear to sell.
When we first offered to help this woman we made the assumption that those she has known for longer in town would help, but when it quickly became obvious that no-one would, we could not leave this woman to fend for herself.
She is 5 feet tall and 76 years old.
A tiny little spitfire of an old lady.
With no family living close by, she was on her own.
And now she is done.  And we are done.  House is sold, truck is sold, tools are sold, household belongings are sold, and this old lady has moved in with a lady she knows in Blackfoot.
At least through the winter.
Until she decides where she wants to be as she begins her new life.
It's been a long and tough year for someone that we like very much, and we hope that her new life is a good life..............

The rest of the undependables, the broken-promise-makers, the substance abusers, the unhappily married, and those needing of favors or drama or a shoulder to cry on or simple look-at-me attention, can stop now.
We are done helping anyone else.  Everyone else.  
And I have told them that as they have called me. 
Can we can't.
Do we don't.
Will we won't.
No lame excuses.  
Just a straight up no.  
We've helped everyone this summer and now we're done for a while.
We have camping to do and a new business to continue growing.
We have our own lives, our own problems, our own baggage.
We need to be alone.  We came here to be alone
We will be alone.
Enough already................. 

I have no idea when I took these pictures.
Sometime over the past month when the weather was still warm and summer still presided over the desert...........
I may not remember exactly when I took all these pictures, but I DO remember walking with Kory on the evening when the sky looked like this.
The skies that we see from our isolated little piece of the planet are one of my favorite things about living here.
There are some days when the sky almost feels as though it is alive.  It wanders.  It stretches.  It reaches across the desert in bands (sometimes in vivid sunset-colors and other times like this one in white bands against an evening blue sky).
Skies like this speak to me.
And I love the combination of the white bands, blue sky, and black landscape as the sun completes its decent in the west......................
Click on the picture above and it will enlarge.
Deer watching us closely and the mountains to our north have disappeared in the smoke of the wild fires............

We had a huge number of rabbits in town and out on BLM land this past summer - much more than the two previous summers we have spent in Atomic City - and my dog has had an outstanding time chasing the heck out of them.
We have watched her run after jacket rabbits on BLM land.  
Watching as she speeds through the sage brush and across open grass land, all the while yelping in excitement.  
Watching as she disappeared over rises.  
Catching site of her occasionally as we realized that she had run hard and fast and was now a couple of miles away. 
Blowing whistles and calling her name, so that she could find her way back to us.
She did catch a number out on BLM land.  And a number in our yard.  
It didn't end well for the bunnies.
But most of the time they outran her, or outmaneuvered her and she came back to us empty handed.
She did not seem to care either way quite honestly.
It was the chase that she loved so much.
Always the chase.
Just another reason to run, although she never really needs a reason.
Our dog has had a wonderful time chasing bunnies - all day, every day, throughout the entire summer.
In these pictures she was convinced that something was hiding from her inside these metal poles..................
Pictures taken around sunset during a time when we were still surrounded in all western states with wild fires.................
A month or so ago we made a quick out-and-back trip to Mackay to drop off a truck load of cases of water.
Folks in the valley were collecting food and water at the time (and later furniture and other house hold goods) for the hundreds of families who had lost so much in northern Idaho wild fires.
On the way up the valley we stopped briefly.
The area was covered in smoke, but it was still wonderful to be surrounded by green and mountains, if only for a brief time...................
My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.............George R.R. Martin