Friday, December 18, 2015

First Big Snow Of Winter

We have had dustings of snow a number of times over the past few months, but finally a few days ago it snowed all day and through the night, and when we woke up the next morning the world had been transformed into a wintery black and white world..
While LC still slept, Kory and I wandered into the back yard to explore this brand new world.
With both of us as excited as little kids, I watched as my dog eagerly ran and danced and pranced through the snow and I smiled.
She pleases me.
She pleases me that she is in my life.
She pleased me as I watched her joyously take the tall strides necessary to clear the snow, and as she eagerly ran from one end of the large back yard to the other................
I have lived in pretty towns in the past.
Atomic City is not one of those places.
There are a few nice homes, and small touches scattered throughout the Tiny Town that are welcome to see.
But generally this town is not pretty.
It is an isolated desert town with a number of old and eccentric people to whom I smile, nod and keep on moving.
Half of the structures in town are empty - a tell-tale sign of when this town used to be much more than it is now.
As with most towns, those that are inhabited are a combination of the very nice to the very humble.
Some of the humble is just horrible to look at, but this one humble home (which is actually a mobile home with add-ons) belongs to our neighbors.
As I stood by the fence separating our homes I looked through the trees at this most recent of add-ons.
The lady who lives there with her husband and her father, uses this room as a creative space to paint or make crafts.
I stood inside the room for the first time this past summer, and as I sat at her desk and looked through the windows I was immediately enamored.
For the past 10 years this same woman has gently cared for her yard - planting small trees and endless flowers and attaching home-made bird houses and bird feeders to fence and foliage.
As I sat at her desk during the summer she had a beautiful view of her beautiful yard.
A very good addition.
I like the lady very much, but the home is filled with increasing age and illness, emotional abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and although I like the woman I cannot bring myself to spend too much time, even in passing.
Smile, nod and keep on moving................
In my haste to be outside in the snow, I had slipped on a pair of old running shoes.
As I slowly wandered around the yard enjoying the snow and enjoying Kory, I realized that my feet were slowly getting increasingly cold and damp.
Temperatures were mild outside, and I needed coffee, so I knew that I wouldn't be out for too much longer.
 I could deal with damp feet for a few more minutes........................
The shed we build last fall, all of it made out of salvaged wood.
This past spring we had a huge, 8 foot  standing horse cut out of plywood and we placed it on the side of our home.
LC made these smaller horses, we painted them black to match the larger horse, and they now graze on the side of the shed.....................
I had slowly wandered from one end of the yard to the other, lost in thought and the silence that always seems to follow heavy snow.
I could hear coyotes in back of town.  Lots of coyotes, and they sounded close.  They always sound close in the winter.
Instinctively I turned to search for my dog.
She could easily jump the fence if she wanted to, although she hadn't jumped it in a couple of months.
Still..........after hearing the coyotes I wanted to see her.  To know for certain that she was still close.
My experience with Kory is that she was scared when the coyotes barked and howled.
Good.  Rather scared than curious.
She was still with me.  
Still running in the yard.
Still happily burying her face in the snow, sitting in it, jumping in it, happy in her new world.................
The bench we made out of snowboards.....................
An hour later we were out in the snow again.
This time LC was with us, and while I shoveled the walk way, and while LC brushed the snow off and warmed up vehicles, Kory lay in the snow watching us.
It was a good morning to deliver some small gifts and cards to our neighbors throughout town....................
By the time we had played in the back yard, drank coffee and woken up, cleaned off the walk way and the vehicles, delivered Christmas cards and small Christmas gifts, we had been busy for a few hours.
By this time it was mid morning and I wanted to do one more thing before relaxing by the wood stove in the living room, drink some more coffee and eat some breakfast.
Grabbing cross country skis, retrieving boots and poles, I sat on a cooler in the garage trying to remember how to even clip into my skis.
I was not a great cross country skier.  I hadn't done enough of it to be anything more than a novice.
I had bought the skis and boots while in Juneau, had used them a couple of times, and had not put them on since.
Awkwardly I snapped into the skis.
Awkwardly and carefully I walked my ski clad feet to the door of the garage and then awkwardly stepped over the small snow bank that I had created while shoveling the walkway.
 Awkwardly I took a few strides on my skis and it all felt foreign and unfamiliar to me.
Awkwardly I tried to find some kind of slow rhythm as I skied down the middle of the road, turned left and picked up a power line trail that was filled with snow.
It felt OK.  A lot of work.  More than I remembered it being in the past, but I was older now and not as in good shape as I used to be.
It felt awkward but it felt OK, and I slowly lumbered down the trail working too hard but enjoying the silence.
Kory was home so I did not have to watch her and keep track of her.
Instead, I was enveloped in a completely silent, white, beautiful, cold world....................
By the time I got home I was tired and a little sore.
It had been a good morning.........................

 What a severe yet master artist old Winter is....No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel..............John Burroughs "The Snow-Walkers"

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