Sunday, December 31, 2017

Walking The Rim

I have been endlessly power snapping pictures ever since we arrived back in Cody, and will have to spend some time catching up on blogging.
These pictures were all taken sometime back in early November.
These first ones were taken while I was restlessly wandering around a waiting room as we had four new tires put on the Tahoe..................
With the vehicle now equipped with four new ten ply tires Kory and I left LC back at the cottage and headed out onto BLM land for a quiet walk together.
Parking the Tahoe on a familiar trail out in the Oregon Basin (about four miles outside of town), I sprung my hysterically barking girl from the bondage of the vehicle and watched as she excitedly ran.
For a moment I carefully regarded her, enjoying the sight of her relishing in her new-found freedom.
I headed up the trail (enjoying my OWN new-found freedom), walking quickly while also keeping one eye on my pup.
I don't worry about Kory as much now as I used to.
She can still disappear from view in seconds.
She can still be gone for too long sometimes, before unexpectedly reappearing over a rise (and from the complete opposite direction from where I lost site of her).
But Kory is bonded fully with her people, glances over frequently to make sure she knows exactly where we are, and has built confidence that we will never leave her behind.
A few times I have had to go back to the vehicle and beep the horn to get her to come back.  She always comes running at full speed, understanding that it is time to go. 
But more often than not my dog simply disappears and reappears, then disappears and reappears again.  Coming and going.  Touching base with me constantly and consistently as we walk.
A make-shift target found along the trail.................
And a whole series of rabbit hides................
It was a grey, overcast and damp day, and even though we had had a lot of snowfall the week before, it had quickly melted.
As I reached a box canyon I glanced behind me to keep tabs on my dog, called to her so that she would know I was veering off the trail, and headed for the hills....................
Still climbing..............
Once I reached the top of the hill I glanced around me again and was gratified to see that Kory had almost caught up with me.
I watched her (as I often did), mesmerized by her natural athleticism.
It was all so effortless for her.
The running.  The climbing.  All of it...............
We were on the outskirts of the Oregon Basin.
A huge expanse of sage brush filled, flat oil-producing land, that is surrounded by a sandstone rim of rock.
Kory and I were now walking one small section of that rim.
LC and I would be exploring a different section of the rock rim the next day.
A section we had found during our last stay in Cody four years earlier and which was VERY beautiful and interesting.
This place wasn't that place, but it didn't matter.
It was all new territory for both of us, and both woman and dog were enjoying the freedom of wide open adventure, and the walking rhythm we had established with each other over the four years we had now been together.
It was all good.................
I smiled when I saw her.
You just never knew where she was going to be, from one moment to the next..............
She was somewhere between 3 and 5 when we got her.
She is now somewhere between 7 and 9 years old.
Physically Kory is still as fast and agile as ever, but her face is beginning to show her age..................
While Kory darted up and down the hill, I picked my way up and over rocks and fallen tree limbs, working my way across the top of the ridge.
The loose plan was to walk the length of the ridge line, then drop down onto flat land again and pick up the original trail we had been on.
A small adventure.
A quiet adventure on a silent and dreary day.................
Off in the distance I could see the top half of Carter Mountain down in the South Fork.
As I stood looking at it I absently wondered how far away it was as the crow flies.
Distances are so vast and so deceiving in the west that I honestly had no idea.
Driving on the highway it was 35 miles or so.
Regardless, I enjoyed seeing the mountain range.
A familiar part of the Cody land scape.
It still feels so strange to be in Cody again.
When we lived in Idaho I assumed that Wyoming was behind us for good, and so I never gave any of these places any thought at all.
Now, whenever we visit a place and see a site that was so familiar to us four years ago I remember how much I liked it.  
The memories of Places-Past all come flooding back...............
The next day we would visit Circle Rock.............

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person............Andy Rooney

Friday, December 29, 2017

First Christmas In Cody

Christmas was always the one time of year I got stupid about things I rarely gave much thought to the rest of the year.
Things like decorating.  And baking.  And holiday movies.  And holiday music.
A busy mother, recreation manager and athlete had neither the time nor the interest in such things. 
But this was my favorite time of year and I was a sucker for all things  nostalgically Christmas.
Christmas trees in every room.  Baked goods crammed into metal cookie containers and a Prancer video playing off and on throughout the day........

It is no longer my favorite time of year.
In fact there are many continual months that I now have to work through, struggling (sometimes struggling hard) to keep emotions in check.
LCs birthday is in early October.
A little boy that I have never met has a birthday in mid October.
Halloween is the end of October.
Chris' birthday is the 3rd week in November and so is Thanksgiving.
And then there is Christmas, and Seans' birthday, and New Years Day and then my birthday in early February.
From October 6 until February 1 there are non-stop months and days that I just try to get through.
And then there is the end of April.
And Mothers Day.
And screw it.
There are a few months of the year (beginning sometime during the summer and continuing into early fall) where I can just live and breathe again, and try to ignore all the thundering noise inside my head for a while.
With the exception of LCs birthday, none of these days are the same anymore.
I'M not the same anymore.
It's not supposed to be this way but it is what it is and I can't change what it is..........

On this Christmas morning (the first Christmas after our return to Wyoming) we all woke to a white, cold and foggy winter morning in Cody..............

For the past few years LC and I have invited someone over to share Christmas dinner with us.
We are displaced orphans of a kind, and there always seems to be someone in our circle of acquaintances who is also away from friends and family during the holidays.
We have always appreciated the company, and I know that they have appreciated not being alone on a day where no-one should be alone.
On this particular day we would be taking Barbara out to lunch at the historic Irma Hotel.
But earlier in the day I took my sweet dog for a walk in town.
It was about 9 in the morning when we ventured out, but the town was completely silent.
Empty streets, closed stores, shuttered restaurants.
Aside from the occasional vehicle passing by on the way to "grandmas house" this town was silent and still.
We weren't out a long time.  Just long enough to Kory a chance to wander, as she so often needs to do.  
Pictures I took along the way............

The pictures immediately above and below are of Beck Avenue downtown, with a foggy and snowy Rattlesnake Mountain in the background.............
If you knew how busy it was during the tourist season, you would never guess that this was Sheridan Avenue (the main street in town).................
I only snapped a couple of pictures at the Irma during our Christmas brunch.
There were three meal seatings in total on that day, and we had made reservations for the first seating beginning at 11:30.
When we arrived LC and I were surprised to see the entire restaurant packed with people.
Apparently a whole lot of residents in Cody choose not to cook on Christmas Day.
The place was beautifully decorated and the food (as always) was excellent.
I think that the Irma was the only business in the entire city that was open on Christmas, and we greatly enjoyed the meal and the company.
I took these pictures on a quieter day a week or two prior to Christmas..............
One of these days I hope to see what the guest rooms look like.
The restaurant, gift shop, bar, meeting rooms and hallways are all beautiful throwbacks to the early part of the last century - heavy and dark woods, rich and textured carpets, antique light fixtures, the ever present animal heads, and endless black and white pictures of the towns' name sake.
All very wonderful.................
We had always eaten in the main restaurant, so LC and I were surprised when we were seated in an adjoining room.
Looking around at the Christmas decorations and realizing that we would be eating in front of the huge stone fireplace Barb, LC and I smiled at each other.
What a nice place!
For the next 90 minutes we ate like it was our last meal, talked, told stories and enjoyed each others' company.
Barbara has spent the last couple of Christmases alone.
I am very glad that we invited her to spend at least part of the day with us..............

LC spent the rest of the day together in a small rental cottage in downtown Cody.
There are times when the sense of loss (all the losses that I allude to in this blog but seldom explain) and the sense of sadness, becomes overwhelming.
So overwhelming that it threatens to drown a woman who shouldn't be floundering so much and so hard at this stage in her life.
But after eating a huge, fancy meal in a huge, fancy place, LC and I walked through the front door of our temporary home and were greeted by a dog so hysterically happy to see us that you would have thought we had been gone for days instead of hours.
I called Chris and he actually answered the phone. 
We talked about our day and about each other, and reminisced about Christmases in the past.
As I sat drinking a cup of coffee I looked over at a man that I have known for almost 11 years now.
A man who loves me, who grounds me, and who continues to smooth out my very rough edges (that most people never see but which he and I both know are there).
Some people have nothing and no-one.
I have something and someone.
And I work hard sometimes to try and remember that................

"I need a weapon,” Valkyrie muttered.
“You’re an Elemental with a Necromancer ring, trained in
a variety of martial arts by some of the best fighters in the world,” Skulduggery pointed out. “I’m fairly certain that makes YOU a weapon.”
“I mean a weapon you hold. You have a gun, Tanith has a sword.  I want a stick.”
“I’ll buy you a stick for Christmas.” 
Derek Landy, Mortal Coil