Winter Wonderland

Several inches of new snow fell overnight covering the landscape in a blanket of white. Snowflakes as big as nickels continued to fall all day muffling the sound of a distant train. A deer family, that usually passes through our property, did not; and other familiar visitors such as a snowshoe hare, a grey squirrel, and a reddish chipmunk stayed inside their prospective burrows. Even the snowplow did not show.

Although it is not officially winter per se, by all natural indicators, winter is definitely upon us. A season of frost, ice, twilight, cold, snow, and the colors of blue, white, and grey. Some of the many things I like about this time of year.

Another thing I really like about winter is that when it does snow, I can see the animal tracks of any creature that may have visited the land. Like today.

Instead of shoveling, I decided to walk down past our burn pile and into the forest. There, I noticed a set of animal tracks and crouched down to gaze at them for a while, even walking alongside them deeper into the woods. The fore and hind prints were about two inches long, slightly longer than wide, with four toes, and no claw marks. The heel pad was lobed at the rear and concave at the front. The trail it had made was narrow as if it was a two-legged animal with overlapping fore prints. Bobcat? I pictured the animal roaming noiselessly over the land, hunting as it traveled. I took a photo of one of the more distinct prints and headed back to the house.

Beside the fireplace, with a steaming cup of tea, I read through my Field Guide to North American Mammals to be assured I was correct in my assumption. Sure enough, the photo I took and the one in the field guide matched perfectly.

There is a certain comfort knowing a bobcat can still wander free and wild here. For how long, I do not know. But for today, to see bobcat tracks in the snow, possibly hunting a snowshoe hare just as they have done for thousands of years, brightens my outlook on our fast-changing and often tenuous world.

Snow all day and then

yellow bands of light warm my

undemanding heart…

How did you find solace today?

Sharon

© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

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