Friday, December 9, 2016

Easier To Move Than Stay Still

Most of the people who live in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere never venture out onto BLM land.
They stay home.
They go to town.
They stay home.
I couldn't live in Atomic City if I couldn't venture out into the vastness of the completely empty and silent landscape that waits for me in back of this little nothing community...............

For over a month the weather never varied.
October through early November the weather was completely warm and sunny, and LC and I spent all of that time single-mindedly gutting and rebuilding a camper.
We didn't get it finished.
We ran out of time, out of supplies, and out of warm weather.
One day I woke up, looked out of the front window, read the temperature on the circular gauge that is attached to the exterior wall of the house, and realized that the unseasonably warm and unseasonably sunny was gone.  Done.
The rest of the camper would have to wait until spring, and that was OK............

Suddenly it was cold.
Suddenly the monotony of summer was a thing of the past and suddenly every day was different.
Snow.  Rain.  Fog.  Frozen mist. 
The world began to constantly change, and instantly I felt re-energized.
This is my time of year.
Tourists are gone.  Hunters and four wheelers and rock hounds and other assorteds are gone for the year, and the desert is finally mine again.
Mine alone.
Mine alone except to share often with my dog and occasionally with my guy, but always mine.................

On a day that promised snow that never materialized, I loaded Kory into the Suburban.
We drove down first one gravel road, then a second, and 10 minutes after we had left the house I pulled the vehicle off the road, pulled onto a dirt trail, and pulled to a stop in the middle of the trail.
Immediately my excited dog ratcheted it up a notch and she transitioned to barely contained puppy-hysteria.
We were there.
She didn't care where "there" was.
She just knew that it meant running and playing and chasing and that was all she needed to know.................

 With my puppy already on the run I looked around me.
We had had a few bouts of light overnight snow already but it hadn't lasted long, and now that we were in early December I was ready for snow to fall and to stay.
The desert was silent and brown, the sky was completely grey, and Big Butte was partially hidden in low lying fog.
It was cold and I was alone with my dog.
It felt as though we were a thousand miles from nowhere, but in reality we were only ten minutes drive from town.
On a clearer day I would have been able to see town from where I stood.................   
There was little of consequence to see where Kory and I were now wandering.
We were in the middle of flat ground.
No trees, a few small sections of lava field but not much.
The mountains in the distance were only partially visible through the fog and clouds.
But that was alright.  I just needed to walk.  Needed to move.  
One more day in a lifetime of moving.
Kory was happily climbing up and down a large rock hill and I stood watching her for a few minutes, realizing as I often do that the sight of her pleases me.
I headed in her direction.................
An old, beat up convertible drove up to where I was standing on the sidewalk.
As it pulled to a sudden stop in front of me I looked around alarmed, found him and called him over to me.
The little white haired boy came up beside me and I instinctively and protectively pushed him behind me.
 The old man behind the wheel was dirty and unshaven and grizzled and old, and he smiled at me menacingly.
Reaching into his inside jacket pocket he pulled out a gun and wordlessly pointed it at me, smiling at the same time in a way that made me feel afraid.
I yelled at the little boy who was hiding behind me - RUN!..........
I opened the front door of the house and frantically called his name.
Rushing through the house I screamed his name over and over until I finally threw open a door and saw him.
Squatting down on the ground the little white haired boy was playing with a stick in a mud puddle.
When I opened the door he wordlessly looked up at me and smiled.
Trying to catch my breath and slow the pounding in my chest I smiled back at him and then opened my arms, beckoning the small child to me.
He stood and walked into my arms and I hugged him tight.
He only reached my waist, and I leaned down to stroke his cheek and to kiss him on the top of his beautiful head.
I love you Sean.
He didn't reply.
And then I woke up......................
Kory and I walked across a large field, headed towards the gravel pit.
It was cold and was slated to snow again sometime over the next 24 hours.
I watched Kory as she wandered and danced and pranced, thankful for the distraction of a happy-go-lucky dog who took such uncomplicated joy in the most uncomplicated of things...............
For the next hour me and my dog just moved through the desert.
She wandered and explored.
I mindlessly followed her, deliberately staying disengaged from the world.
Just moving.
Just moving because it was easier to move than it was to stay still.....................
The next morning we woke to light snow and frozen mist.
One more day in a continual cycle of changing days in early winter...................
The yard tool shed that LC and I built two years ago, made from all scavenged and salvaged wood.
It has small black horses on one side, and an old Big Butte Rd sign on the other side that was given to me by someone here in town about a year ago.
The trees were all covered in inch thick icicles from the frozen mist that is so common in this area through the winter.................
The deer - watchful as always - sitting and standing in the adjoining property...................
This is some weird and funky piece of yard art that LC and I made early last spring.
Winter had finally broken and the day was warm and sunny, but it was still so early in the season that nothing was growing yet.
The world was still brown and I was desperate for color.
Within a couple of days I had gone Red, White and Blue mad - repainting a milk can, painting a old wood beam into a flag pole, painting a palette flag,
And by the time I had run out of patriotic paint colors I looked at a section of old wood fence, dug out a bunch of metal circular knobs that I had been collecting for a couple of years, and put this together. add character to a character-less section of the yard...............
A dragonfly - an old chair leg body, old fan blade wings, and a piece of a plantar made the antennae............
Rock on a stick..................

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