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

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