Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunset In Winter

I haven't been blogging as often as I used to.
Truthfully, creative energy has been low for endless months now, and I look at pictures I take and think "pretty snow pictures".
That's it.
That's all I got.
Even though I haven't been blogging much, I HAVE still been taking a lot of pictures.
We are now into early spring.
This morning we woke up to realize that it was pouring with rain outside.
It is always a bit of a shock when it finally pours with rain here because it happens so infrequently.
We live in SE Idaho.
In the middle of the Snake River Plain, at an elevation of just over 5000 feet, and in what locals and regionals dismissively call "the desert".
So yes...........pouring rain is a shock.
The beautiful snow of this past winter is now almost gone, and in its wake we have endless mud, dampness and overcast skies.............but also the true beginnings of new growth.................

I snapped these pictures way back in early December.
We had snow on the ground but that early into winter it was still not deep enough to stop us from driving the trails out on BLM land.
Within a couple of weeks there was no way to drive out there.
The snow was too deep.
For the first time since we moved here we both truly wished (as this winter progressed) that we had snow machines.
I think we may be on the lookout for one or two of them through the warm months of this year.   Cheap ones.   We can't afford expensive ones, and I couldn't justify expensive simply for the purpose of mechanical toys to play in the snow.
But on this day (back in early December) we were excited to see one more layer of snow covering the ground.
Excitedly, I made a grab for snow shoes.
LC tried on snow shoes for the first time, made it to the end of the driveway, looked up a me and said "OK I've tried snow shoeing.  Can I just walk now?"
Yes can just walk...................
Across the road from us is a trail that I walk infrequently with Kory.
It parallels a paved road that leads out to the highway a mile away, and I don't like to head in that direction with Kory.
She can cover a mile in only a few minutes when inclined to do so (and bunny chasing gives her that excuse).
She could make it to the highway and get herself into all kinds of trouble quickly, and so we rarely walk in that direction.
But on this way we walked the snow covered trail a short ways.
LC walking, Kory running and playing in the snow and investigating whatever mysterious thing she found in her travels, and me snow shoeing........................
The sky was filled with low lying clouds.
I love days like this one.
The world is silent and still and the color of pewter.
During the rest of the year the vast expanses of empty land all around us look monochromatic.  All the same.   Simply endless square miles of uninterrupted beige.
When you look more closely of course, there is more to this desert than you see at first glance.
Desert flowers.  Desert grasses.  Multiple large and small lava fields.  Small caves and short cedar trees and long trails and low cacti and animal signs at every turn.
 But this place is wonderful in winter.
The mountains are taller.  The buttes are higher.  The endless square miles of public lands turn into endless square miles of white.  It was a stunning transformation.  
A beautiful one.
The most beautiful season of the year.
LC looking towards a small rise called Rattlesnake Butte that is located about two miles from town................
Looking back towards town.................
A couple of days later we drove with the Suburban out on a trail late in the day and not long before sunset.
There was plenty of snow, but the trails were still driveable at that point.
THIS trail Kory knows well, and as LC and I slowly trudged through the snow on a mild and overcast evening,  we let our pup wander at will.................
If you click on this picture it will enlarge and you will see the deer (look for the ears).
Sometime soon we will have a town full of new deer babies.................
THIS is why we went out as late as we did.
We wanted to catch what we both sensed would be a beautiful winter sunset................
LC and I talk very often about moving to a place closer to water.
Further up the valley.
Closer to Challis or Salmon.
We may do that at some point.
We may not.
But when I look at pictures like these last two, I realize (again) that we live in a beautiful place with endless silence and endless room.
And that's not such a bad thing either........................

 Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again................Bill Morgan, Jr.

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