Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Down The Rabbit Hole

For a week straight we were mired in suddenly sweltering summer temperatures.
Hot and dry, day after day, while LC, Kory and I played vampire (staying inside during the day and coming outside in the early evenings when temps finally cooled down).
 Saturday morning we headed out early in search of yard sales, and were surprised at how cold it was.
Without checking the weather I assumed that it would warm up quickly, and I wore shorts.
By mid morning the day was getting colder instead of warmer, and by early afternoon it was freezing cold and threatening rain.
Freezing cold.
In June.
Such is life in SE Idaho in the summer.
Ever since that day though, we have had endless sunshine and temperatures in the upper 60s instead of upper 80s.
Which suits my Scandinavian blood much much better.............

A couple of days ago late in the evening I grabbed my dog, climbed into the Tahoe and headed out onto BLM land.
As with so many of our trips, we left the house with only the most basic of a plan.
We would head beyond Cedar Butte, turn towards Big Butte and wander around the cedar trees that overlooked the valley and the mountains to the north....................

As soon as we reached the outskirts of town I looked to my left and saw a lone antelope slowly walking through the sage.
Looking around me I was surprised to see her alone.
She stopped walking for just a moment, turned to look at me, and then turned back and slowly continued on her way.
Click on the picture to enlarge...............
Predictably, by the time we got close to Cedar Butte Kory was pacing back and forth in the back of the Tahoe, and I reached behind me to place my hand on her head to try and calm her.
It was a vain effort of course
We were getting close to.........something.
She had no idea what but knew that it involved big adventures............

I had planned on driving by Cedar Butte, driving one more mile and then making a sharp turn, before driving one more mile until we hit the cedar trees that overlooked the vast desert floor and the mountains that were 30 miles away.
As we took the sharp turn I was startled to see an adult cow and a calf standing in the middle of the dirt road.
I slowed the Tahoe down even more and began to climb the short, steep hill, fully expecting momma and baby to move out of the road.
Instead they simply stood their ground and stared at us in that blank way that cows always seem to have.
When I got closer I hit the horn, and watched these lumbering and sweet things finally scoot over to the side of the road.
I snapped this picture as we passed them by..................     
A minute later Big Boy walked by................
By the time Kory and I had traveled another mile I realized that we were not going to be stopping where I had planned because there were cows everywhere.
Grazing on both sides of the dirt road - mommas and babies everywhere.
If Kory was going to run freely and if I was going to wander without worry, I needed to make distance between these two types of creatures.
I immediately decided to just continue slowly driving the road until we passed the last of them, but in the meantime it was very late in the day, the light was beautiful, the world was green, and I got busy doing the triad of driving, stopping and picture taking.
Kory had temporarily forgotten about the excitement of an impending adventure, and instead was silently staring out the window - completely mesmerized by this huge creatures....................
15 minutes after first running into grazing cows, I pulled the Tahoe as far as I could over to the side of the road, climbed out, open up the back door and my puppy sprang to life.
It was a beautiful early evening.
A stunningly beautiful early evening.
And while Kory quickly roamed from one sage bush to another, marking her newly discovered territory, I looked back the way I had come.
I could see the Twin Buttes in the distance.
Whenever I look at them wherever I wander in the desert, I always know that our little town is nestled in between them.
I could not see Atomic City from this distance, but I knew it was there...................
The Twin Buttes were to my east.
The Lost River Ranger was to the north...............
And Big Butte was another 8 miles or so due west of me....................
I watched Kory quickly and easily weaving her way through sage bushes, picking a line that would take her closer to the trees.
I have followed her line often over the past couple of years.
Mostly when we had been wandering in lava fields where there can be drop-offs, short and steep climbs, occasional box canyons and dead ends, large gaps in the rocks that need to be circumnavigated.
She thinks through her moves.  Evaluates her next step.  And I have followed her route many times.
On this day though, the walking was easy, and I weaved around sage bushes enjoying the silence of the night and the endless and empty world that was in front of me......................
We didn't walk long and we didn't walk far, but after 30 minutes or so of quiet exploring my dog and I circled back up to the road, and walked the road back to the Tahoe.................
I had only brought one bottle of water with me, and I stood at the back door of the Tahoe, cupped my hand and poured water into my hand.
My pup quickly devoured an entire bottle of water.
On the way home we drove the first few miles very slowly, watching the cows and both of us enjoying this place immensely.......................
Once we had passed the cedar trees and found our way into wide open desert I saw a light colored calf on the left side of the road and a black mother on the right side of the road.
With the windows open I could hear baby crying for momma, and I could hear momma calling to her calf.
They were a football fields' distance away from each other and I stopped the Tahoe in the middle of the road, opened the door of the vehicle and climbed out, while watching them both at the same time.
As I stood beside the vehicle I continued to hear these two calling to each other.
They wanted to be together, and baby was haphazardly trying to make his way back to his mother.
She called out.  He called back.
She called out.  He called back.
Talking with each other.  Calling to each other.  Trying to find their way back to each other.
And then it happened.
Sometimes I can feel it coming and I can stop it before it starts.
Sometimes it starts so fast and I have to fight to control it before it picks up so much speed that I can't stop it.
Sometimes it starts and I know its coming and I don't even try to stop it..............

They were calling to each other and wanting to be with each other and in one unexpected and violent moment I was falling down the rabbit hole.
It was dark in the hole and I could feel myself falling fast.
I hadn't even seen it coming this time but it was here.
I watched baby.
I watched momma.
I couldn't breathe and it was dark and I was falling and I was falling fast.
I watched baby.
I watched momma.
 I watched them trying to reunite with each other, and I battled to stop the fall.
Finally it slowed. 
Finally it stopped.
I still couldn't breathe, and before momma and baby reunited I turned back towards the Tahoe.
Just before I climbed back into the vehicle I turned back to the large and the small cows, and they were together.
They had found each other again....................
Little Alice fell
the hole,
bumped her head
and bruised her soul..........Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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