A lot of snow has fallen around here over the past couple weeks, and, after doing the necessary digging out, we’ve been enjoying it. Noah and Chip made a dog igloo in the back yard.
Chip loves the snow, but when it gets this deep, it’s a pretty tough slog for him.
So I ventured out on my own a few times, relishing the opportunity to put the snowshoes to good use for the first time in maybe three years.
As I walked by this area, a hawk screeched her disgust as she leapt from her watch in the tree and flew over my head to a different hunting spot. I suppose the chipmunk that left these tracks, no snowshoes required for him, would have been easy pickings against the white background.
The evidence in the snow revealed one technique the chipmunks use to evade the hawks, tunneling like moles just under the surface of the snow, only to pop back to the surface for a few leaps before diving under again.
What I assume were field mice tracks were everywhere through the scrubby fields, concentrated around the tufts of tall grass that remained above the surface of the deep snow.
Tiny holes often remained beside grass stalks, surrounded by the remnants of the seedy supper.
Deer ran far ahead of me, their long thin legs sinking deep into the snow between bounds. Much more graceful than me, especially when I had to right the ship after keeling over, without a walking stick. Nobody saw me though — I looked.
I was delighted to find an organic little cabin in the woods, likely made by some inspired teenagers in the summer.
And I was impressed with their woven construction technique.
I’ll end with an entry from Thoreau’s journal that came to my mind after seeing the scraggly little oaks like this one at the edge of the field, whether or not they are of the same particular species to which he refers:
The dear wholesome color of shrub oak leaves, so clean and firm, not decaying, but which have put on a kind of immortality, not wrinkled and thin like the white oak leaves, but full-veined and plump, as nearer earth. Well-tanned leather on the one side, sun-tanned, color of colors, color of the cow and the deer, silver-downy beneath, turned toward the late bleached and russet fields. What are acanthus leaves and the rest to this? Emblem of my winter condition. I love and could embrace the shrub oak with its scanty garment of leaves rising above the snow. . . . In proportion as I know and love it, I am natural and sound as a partridge. I felt a positive yearning toward one bush this afternoon. There was a match found for me at last. I fell in love with a shrub oak.Henry David Thoreau, Journal, December 1, 1856