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face of the deep

In early 2001, the last two of my old setters were dying, one had cancer and both were nearing the age of 15, and on the weekends I would load Vonnie and Mazie up in the car and head out with them, usually somewhere we could have a nice little stroll after a nice long car ride. One weekend we were headed east along 16 uphill from Pettigrew on our way to the Richland Creek area when some unusual atmospheric conditions caught my attention. The sun was dimmed by a high, thin, uniform cloud layer, while a lower fast-moving cumulus cloud bank was rapidly moving in from the south and was closing in on the sun from below.

I pulled off the highway and burned about a roll of film shooting from my car with the camera propped on the driver's side window. Part of the challenge in doing this was waiting for the intervals when the car wasn't being shaken ever so slightly by a panting dog. To those who have big cars and small dogs rather than the other way around, it may come as a surprise that a dog can move a two-thousand pound vehicle just by breathing, but you can take my word for it.

We never made it to Richland Creek, although we got close. We were turned back by hard-packed remnant snow on stretches of the forest road leading down into Richland valley, and I decided not to chance it.