Thursday, December 15, 2016

Endless Silence

I snapped these pictures a couple of weeks ago on an early, freezing cold evening.
When I realized that the sky was alive and that the sun was already beginning to set, I quickly grabbed boots and hat, coat and gloves, and called to my dog who had been napping on the floor behind the wood stove in the living room.
Knowing how quickly the sun descends on the horizon, and aware that likely I would miss the sunset, we two residents (one two legged and one four legged) of this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, rushed out of the house without even letting LC know we were leaving.
And I managed to capture a few pictures before darkness quickly descended in the desert................
The next day we had snow on the ground.
Although it has been cold, we have had little snow so far this winter (although technically winter doesn't arrive for another week).
A continual cycle of overnight snow and freezing cold temperatures, and milder days and melting snow.
The town is very quiet now.
Quiet in terms of visitors - tourists, hunters, four wheelers and more.
Not quiet in terms of the drama and discord that has been created by opposing factions recently, who continually seem to face off in argumentative and confrontational ways in this town.
Opposing factions.  In a town of 28 people.
Too much drama.  In a town of 28 people.
 LC and I refusing to get involved, refusing to take sides, refusing to even feign the remotest of interest in the hand wringing and drama of supposed adults who seemingly have no idea how to behave like adults.
Recently this tiny town has begun to feel too big.
But in truth, these people have no idea how little we care, and no idea how confrontational we are capable of becoming should we not be left alone.................
On this very cold and silent day I walked alone with Kory on the outskirts of town..................
A few days later I loaded Kory into the truck and drove through the increasing snow, so that we could walk close to Cedar Butte.
As we pulled into the large parking area at the trail head I briefly toyed with the idea of walking up onto the butte.
Within just a few minutes that idea was discounted.
I wasn't dressed warmly enough, and even though we were only 8 miles from town it felt as though it was 15 degrees colder at the base of Cedar Butte than it was in Atomic City.
It was so cold that the top of the butte was covered in frozen mist - the kind of crawling, floating, vaguely unsettling kind of mist that spoke of Stephen King novels.
As I stood by the truck for another minute I alternated glancing up to the top of the butte and the frozen mist, and down to the snow on the double track trail and the coyote tracks.
I wasn't armed.
I had been in such a rush to get out of the house, that I had walked out unarmed.
In short - a cluster of a morning.  No breakfast.  Not dressed warmly enough.  Not armed.  
Completely unprepared in that way that should usually be read as a forewarning of how your day is going to go.
Disregarding that forewarning, I decided to forge ahead and just wander the trail a short way, bushwhack across country in the snow, explore some of the snow covered lava fields and then circle my way back to the truck.
The would give me time to be alone, and give Kory time to do all the things that Kory loves to do when we come to this place.......................

It turned out to be a great walk.
A lone walk with myself, and with one eye (as ever) on my four legged companion.
A long walk on a freezing day, while wearing the wrong footwear and not enough clothing to battle the cold.
And that was OK.
A walk filled with blue sky, a dancing and prancing pup, endless tracks in the snow (that told stories of wild animals that had crossed my path before this WAS my path), and the endless world and endless emptiness and endless silence that I seem to need so often......................
Trails are like that: you're floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and flute boys, then suddenly you're struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak…just like life..............Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Burns

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