The snow lies lovely, sterling bright and white,
A broad-spread blanket, crystalline and smooth,
For days confined, snowed-in near cabin’s hearth,
While gazing out at moonlit silken glaze,
As crackling fires loll this drowsy night
And turned-down quilts bid welcome winter’s sleep.
The January sun completes our plan,
A torch announcing dawning of the day,
We venture out, UGH-footed, mittened hands,
To make a man of snow on vista grand,
But soon, we stand near frozen at the sight,
Of serpentining footprints ‘cross our land.
What creatures great or small have passed this way
O’er-night, while eyelids heavy slept in peace?
Some chipmunks, white-tailed rabbits often play,
But whence these patterned hoove-prints everywhere?
A buck perhaps, or ravaging raccoon,
Oppossum, muskrat or a wandering bear!
Precisioned parallels meander round
the feeders, hung for buntings, chickadees,
The routes encircle wide the soft white ground,
‘Cross shadows losing length ‘neath snow-draped trees,
We ponder still what life forms trespassed here,
As we intrude on Mother Nature’s scene.
Strange patterns of eerily precise tracks greeted me after the snowstorm. Despite my research I’ve been unable to verify their origin. But I saw in them a calming simplicity of purpose and logical clarity. I wondered how long these night visitors stayed and where did they go when they left. I wondered too if they visit every night but remain undetected when snow isn’t capturing their tracks.
I’m sad to see the inevitable melting away of the accumulated snow, taking with it my ability to follow these wondrous creatures. After all, we are encroaching on their turf, so how can we take offense at their nocturnal ventures for sustenance.
We are blessed that these creatures still co-exist among us!