Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dormant Raceway

These pictures were all taken a couple of weeks ago.
Long before temperatures dropped and decided to take up residency in the basement.
It has been freezing cold for days now.
A little snow.  
Gale force winds for a couple of days that made it impossible to walk anywhere with my dog, and so she climbed the walls and took us with her.
All while both LC and I were battling the flu.
Neither one of us had been sick for years, and so I suppose we were due.
Actually we were overdue.
LC got sick first and each day I woke up grateful that I was still healthy.
And then Thanksgiving Day I woke up and immediately realized that he had indeed shared his flu bug with me after all.
The battle to get over all the symptoms continues, and it is still freezing cold outside, but at least the sun finally came out again yesterday.
These pictures were taken late in the day a few weeks ago, when temperatures were warm and at a time when shadows were long and colors were wonderfully vivid.
I walked a lot with Kory during those last, warm days.
Morning walks.  Late afternoon walks.
Day after day, in and around a town that is increasingly moving into winter.
We see nobody now.
Residents have all moved inside and we will not see them again until spring, unless they briefly wave as they drive by while on their way into town.
An almost totally silent town.
My time of year.
I can wander with my dog.  Explore with my dog.  Get lost in the silence with my dog................
One morning I walked up the road with my dog and, on the spur of the moment, turned right across from the town bar and wandered onto the property that used to be the Atomic Motor Raceway.
The raceway is a pitiful looking 1/3 mile dirt track.
For years before we moved to this tiny place the raceway was actually a very busy venue each summer.
Scores of dirt track cars spinning in small circles for endless noisy weekends year in and year out.
By the time we moved to Atomic City (2 1/2 years ago now) the number of racers was beginning to dwindle.
A sign of the tough economic times that we were now living in.
A sign that other regional tracks were beginning to siphon off racers.
Atomic Motor Raceway had apparently been a labor of love at the onset, but owners justifiably began to question just how much money they could afford to lose each season.
Last year the number of registered racers was way down, and the biggest race of the season was rained out.
Rained out. 
In Atomic City.  
In August.
This year there were no races.
Truthfully LC and I were not disappointed about that development.
The races brought in too many people and too much noise.
The other day we heard speculation for the first time that the races may re-start again next summer.
I guess we'll see if that happens.
But on THIS day I turned off the road, wandered down the short trail, unhooked Kory from her leash, and watched as she bounded away from me, excited and immediately in search of adventure....................
I had not walked around the race way in well over a year, and as I wandered up the rise and up onto the track I suddenly realized just how overgrown the entire area was.
The track itself was barely visible and instead was almost completely covered in now dormant weeds.
Everything looked unkempt and unloved.
Weeds everywhere.  Wind blown paint.  Torn flags   Empty advertising boards.
The raceway (even when it was in full use) had never been anything wonderful to see.  
It had always been nothing more than a little, ramshackle, desert dirt track.
But now it simply looked abandoned and forgotten.
Looking around me I searched for my dog.
Catching sight of a tail behind a tall sage bush, I called her name.
One more time I called for Kory, and I smiled as she came happily bouncing in my direction..................
I smile even now when I look at the pictures both directly above and below these words.
The boards all showed signs of vehicles that had scraped against them during races, and even though I was standing on track, tumbleweeds and weeds completely obscured it.
In the picture below, tumble weeds had bundled together in piles in front of the bleachers, underneath the bleachers, and in the aisles between each set of bleachers.
Old tumbleweeds were everywhere, and as I stood looking at the mountains of prickly bushes I thought back to last spring.
LC, Kory and I had gone to Arco for a few hours on a very windy spring day.
By the time we got back to the house we were shocked to see tumbleweeds everywhere.
They were piled higher than our head the entire length of the front of the house
The mountains of tumbleweeds were piled even higher in the back yard.  The back fence, the front fence, the gates - all piled with tumble weeds.  A huge pile pushed up against the back fence close to the tool shed.  Endless tumbleweeds caught in trees and bushes and flying over the top of the house.
I had never seen so many tumble weeds in my life.
It took a lot of work by Atomic City residents to clean up the mess when it was all said and done, over the course of many days.
But nobody had cleaned up the raceway, and signs of our springtime-tumbleweed-storm were everywhere I looked.................
The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination............Terri Guillemets

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Catching Up Little By Little

So do we pass the ghosts that haunt us later in our lives; they sit undramatically by the roadside like poor beggars, and we see them only from the corners of our eyes, if we see them at all. The idea that they have been waiting there for us rarely crosses our minds. Yet they do wait, and when we have passed, they gather up their bundles of memory and fall in behind, treading in our footsteps and catching up, little by little...........Stephen King, Dark Tower Set

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nothing In Particular

Walking around the quiet and boring little metropolis of Atomic City at this time of year is like living in the center of some mystical, nature novel.
As we wander down and up every gravel road within the city limits Kory and I manage (without even trying) to set off every dog in town.
Little yappie dog here, two mid sized red dogs there, up and down every street until suddenly it seems that the entire town in barking.
The only dog not barking is mine, and Kory looks at each overly excited mutt with that imperious stare that she has, before eventually moving on.
I'm sure that my neighbors get tired of the barking, but that is their problem to own and not mine..................
As winter continues to close in on SE Idaho, I keep wondering where the bucks are.
There were three of them wandering around town throughout the summer - one large, one very large, and one much younger male.
They roamed together through the summer, wandering throughout town usually late in the evening, all beautiful and healthy looking, and I smiled when I saw them knowing that in a few months they would not be so eager to be in each others' company.
I have not seen them in a couple of months now................

The girls meanwhile (and their healthy and rapidly growing and bounding babies) wander full time in town now.
Now that summer is over (and growing season is long forgotten) I relish the site of them.
There are about 12 does and fawns floating around together, all watchful and wary and all wonderful to see.
Part of the adventure is never knowing where and when they will appear.
Sometimes Kory and I walk around a corner and come face to face with one or more deer.
They can be grazing anywhere in town, can be standing watching us from the middle of a road, can be resting under trees or up against a building or under rows of shrubs in someone's yard.
Their expected (and unexpected) appearance is always a magical moment of discovery.
One of my favorite things about living in this tiny town................
Throughout the summer I am woefully aware of the fact that we live in the desert.
The sky rarely varies from sunshine and blue sky.
A monotony that I never anticipated.
It rains for a while in the spring and then finally stops.  For months.
The ground gradually becomes more and more parched as we move deeper and deeper into summer.
 The trees gradually begin to almost groan out loud for water.
 I watch for snakes during every step I take, and I am reminded that the nearest body of water is more than 30 minutes away.
Summer is the season that I put up with, in order to be able to enjoy the rest of the year.
The constantly changing sky.
The rain then the snow then the rain again.
The frozen mist that completely envelopes this town.
It changes every day, and suddenly it doesn't FEEL as though we live in a desert anymore.
On this particular evening there was a low wall of clouds that completely encircled the town, and as Kory and I wandered I was in awe of how low the clouds had dropped.
A straight line wall of cloud that looked (from where we stood) as if it were only a few feet above the ground...............
One yappie little dog that has no idea just how little he is.
When we walk by, this little guy scurries underneath his front fence and then bluff charges Kory for 10 minutes, before finally letting out one final bark, turning and heading back towards home......................
One more deer leg that Kory carried home from BLM land.
This leg has been buried in two or three different places in the yard
She has brought a number of difference "treasures" home with her over the past few months.
There is no telling what exactly is buried back there now..................

“What do you call yourself?" the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had!
"I wish I knew!" thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, "Nothing, just now."
"Think again," it said: "that won't do."
Alice thought, but nothing came of it. "Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?" she said timidly, "I think that might help a little."
"I'll tell you, if you'll come a little further on," the Fawn said. "I can't remember here."
So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arms. "I'm a Fawn!" it cried out in a voice of delight. "And dear me, you're a human child!" A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.” ................Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland And Through the Lookin
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