Shadows and snow

Last Friday night, several inches of snow fell, leaving about 6 inches of powder by Saturday morning.  Saturday was bright and sunny, so I was looking forward to getting outside to enjoy some of the white stuff.  I soon decided to get on my snowshoes and trek some of the trails behind my house.  Six inches of powder isn’t much to snowshoe, but with the warm winter we’ve been having I knew I wouldn’t have many more opportunities to use them.
I followed the trails, leaving a wake of compressed snow.  I passed some white pine trees where small clumps of snow were still clinging to the needles.
I continued on the trail as the shadows of the barren trees stretched across the snow.
There is life under, and on top, of the snow.  Tracks led from tree to tree, from log to rock.  I saw deer, rabbit, squirrel, and fox tracks; even the delicate imprints of mice.  They criss-crossed and sometimes funneled into one direction, or meandered without purpose across the carpet of white.  And on top of the snow was the occasional insect that became confused about which season it was.  I then came upon a hemlock tree, and under it were five depressions where deer bedded down for the night.  Three more deer bedded down under another hemlock not too far away.

Where the deer bedded down

I then snowshoed the trail to a small flaking ledge with many small caves and holes.  I hoped to find some more animal tracks around these ledges, but there weren’t any.
I finally made it back to my yard to see the tracks of animals heading in every direction, and then they would disappear before reaching a tree- the work of ghostly squirrels.  I’m glad I was able to enjoy the snow, for only a few days later it was all gone.

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