An advantage of being retired is that I can go for a walk in the middle of a weekday and I don’t have to fit it into my lunch hour. Katie enjoys my freedom too because she gets to go along. Yesterday though it was cold and windy we had sun, something we’ve all been missing, so Katie and I headed out to a recreation area where we could walk among tall trees where the wind was less bitter. (Click on any photo to see it larger and with more detail.)
No one else was out there. Poor working fools.
We walked a trail we’ve traveled often, though it’s different each time we visit. On this trip we had bright blue skies, brilliant white snow and enough breeze to make the trees creak. Other than the trees it was quiet.
Plenty of animals had been out since Thursday afternoon’s light snow. The tracks I found most interesting were those of what might have been a dog except there were no corresponding human prints. Sometimes the ‘dog’ tracks were headed the same way we were, and other sections of the trail showed him headed the other way. His prints were about half again as big as Katie’s.
Sometimes his prints intersected those of a rabbit. Or smaller things like mice or moles.
We also ran across smaller tracks, with a walking pattern that was more linear…more like I imagine a cat might make.
All of this evidence of another world made me realize these woods were home to a community that we hardly ever see. After all the people go home these forest dwellers come out and search for food. There’s a whole world right here among the tall trees that we never notice as we walk our dogs, that we’d never notice if it weren’t for the thin coating of fresh snow.
I wondered where all those animals were napping while we were walking and began to wonder if the ‘wolf’ (as I’d begun to think of the one who made the ‘dog’ tracks) was watching us as we moved through his forest. I wondered if the rabbit got away, and what the deer had found to eat. I marveled at all the tiny tracks, picturing little rodents scurrying, always across the path, from one little tunnel to another, never down the trail like the larger deer and rabbits walked.
The trees creaked, the sun shone, Katie ran ahead and then urged me to move along faster. We had a great time, she and I. And as we left I thanked the animals for sharing their home with us.
Another great day of retirement.