Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making tracks

 This morning before breakfast, before caffeine, my two dogs exploded out of what looked to me like a dead sleep and raced towards the glass door so fast that I held my breath, fearing they wouldn’t stop. They did stop, fortunately, barking violently. I assumed we were under attack by a pack of wolves or at least some army.

What prompted this outrage? One of Roundtop’s people was not far behind the cabin, heading down the mountain on a snow machine, a red flag on a flexible pole floating overhead behind the seat. Likely, he was off to check a water line that brings water up the mountain to make snow or perhaps one of the pumps involved. No wolves, no aliens, no army. Just a man on a snow machine making tracks down the mountain.

After a snow, everything that happens on the mountain is suddenly visible in the tracks that remain, even if I’m not there to see the event. I know birds, likely juncos, were hopping around within inches of the front of the chicken pen. Roundtop’s resident mouser walked down my driveway, checked the deck for a handout and then went under the cabin. The snow also lets me know what didn’t happen. I know, for example, that neither the raccoons nor the opossum cased the cabin’s perimeter last night. The woods around my cabin are still untracked by them.

Two deer emerged from the forest out of a nearly invisible opening at the edge of the brushy woods, walked out into the open for 20 yards or so and then returned to the woods, probably disappointed they could find no grass to munch on.

Tracks in the snow are like a calling card that tells me what’s going on around the cabin even when I’m not there. I like the certainty that knowledge reveals. Other seasons rarely allow that. A mud puddle may produce a track or two, but rarely a trail. It’s only snow that tells the fuller story, the comings and goings of life around the forest.


jeannette said...

Like your musings about snow and tracks. Gasped about the 50 degree difference!

Carolyn H said...

Jeannette: 65 to 15 is quite a difference, and if I wanted to split hairs, the difference is probably closer to 55 degrees.

Carolyn H.

Cathy said...

Now that's a great way to start your day,have you dogs go berserk. Interesting what set them off, they probably saw one before? Maybe they thought he was going take their breakfast ;)

Cicero Sings said...

Mingus starting ky-aying about 3:30 this morning. Later, when I took him out for his first constitutional, I discovered a deer had wandered through the yard. I mean, how big a deal is that?

I appreciate knowing what critters are about by the tracks! In summer it is a lot harder to know what is lurking in the greenery ... some you might want to know about!!!

Elora said...

Isn't it fun, tracking those critters? Wow! You did have a temperature inversion! We are still in balmy conditions, but it's raining now (much needed!)


Carolyn H said...

Cathy: from the way the dogs acted, you'd have thought they'd never seen a snow machine before. And I know that's not true.

Cicero: In the green season, it's often dry, so I can't tell what's around unless I see it.

Elora: The rain will soon arrive here, too. And unfortunately, the possibility of flooding as well. Rain on top of snowpack is never a good thing.

Carolyn H.

Johnny Nutcase said...

glad the pups had fun! Fun post :)