I live in rural Maine, and two weekends ago we had a huge snowfall. One of my favorite things about snow is that no animal can escape its ability to perfectly mark tracks. Last week, my husband and I went snowshoeing in a wilderness area. We followed a fox trail for a long while, passing the trails of many small rodents — among them mice and squirrels. Next we came across porcupine trails –- a veritable Times Square of them –- followed by the tracks of a smallish member of the weasel family.
We hiked up a small mountain to where cliffs descended, and all around us were Rock Dove tracks. Rock Doves are pigeons, but in this context it’s worth calling them Rock Doves because they build their nests on cliffs (which is why it should not be a surprise that they have adapted so perfectly to city life where tall buildings provide the perfect nesting sites).
Next we came upon coyote tracks and followed them for awhile, until we descended to a bog and pond. There we smiled at the carryings-on of an otter, who alternated between running and sliding, leaving what looked like a Chutes and Ladders game in the snow.
At one point, I lay on the snow and let the bright sun warm me. I felt a momentary wave of blissful peace here among my wild relatives who, thanks to the snow, revealed themselves to me.
Author of Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind
Image courtesy of Edwin Barkdoll.
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