Tracks in the Snow - The Path of Life

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Tracks in the Snow - The Path of Life

Postby Gene913 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:05 am

From today's NYT Editorial Page - Well written and a reminder of our place in this world.

February Traces
Published: February 2, 2009

Up here in the country, the world gets a used-up look a day or two after a February snowfall. Dust drifts over the fields from the dry roads, the corn stubble begins to poke through, and the plows have left a margin of gritty slush and knocked down a mailbox or two. All the more reason to look for those moments just after a snowfall, when the snow is not yet public, when it has only been tracked by an animal or two out on the ice and in the fields. I never see a truly straight track. There is always a bend in it, as if curiosity was a kind of lateral gravity, always pulling the creature off course. But then I remember that “off course” is a human conceit. Judging by the tracks I see, there is no going so hard that one has to go straight. I can’t begin to guess what was gathered in the meander of a “foxprint” along the river ice. The fox knows, and that’s enough.

I don’t know why the sight of fresh tracks in the snow elates me. Perhaps it’s just the reminder that, minus the human footprint, this is still a world of animal trails. Over the fields, the hawks are laboring in an absence of updrafts. Is that how the year divides for them? A season of thermals rising over the dark earth, and a season when the snow seems to capture the wind and hold it down? Out on the lake-ice, the anglers are sitting on upturned buckets, the bold ones having snowmobiled to their holes. And yet they tested the ice with no more sophistication than the deer I saw walking across Piney Creek in Wyoming a week ago. You ease out onto the surface and see what gives.

I’ve grown used to the sullen light at last, and I find myself hoping for another storm, another chapter in a private winter. But the south-facing slopes are starting to melt quickly, and the skunks are almost certainly starting to think about breeding. Soon the male skunks will be out on the roads, and February will have come in earnest.
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, and you say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21
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Re: Tracks in the Snow - The Path of Life

Postby CO Native » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:16 am

He lost me somewhere on the wandering path of his thoughts, but I think that means he succeeded in conveying his message.
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Re: Tracks in the Snow - The Path of Life

Postby upndown » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:03 am

I might be in the minority, but I totally got this one. Nothing intrigues me quite like getting up with the sun after a fresh snowfall, before anything spoils the snow, hiking through the woods and following a fresh set of tracks. Sort of getting inside the head of the critter you are tracking so to speak. Wondering what they were thinking as they went from tree to tree the night before. Wondering how far ahead of you they are. Where they came from. Where they are going. If you might follow their tracks all the way to their den. That kind of stuff. I dunno - it's just fun for me.
Dreams don't care if you are happy. They only care that they have been lived.

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