Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Walk in the woods


Camouflaged Katie

Camouflaged Katie

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.

Lots of coming and going.

Lots of coming and going.

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.

Katie's print is on the left., next to the 'dog' print.

Katie’s print on the right, next to the ‘dog’ print.

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.

Cat walk?

Cat walk?

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.

What's up there mama?

What’s up there mama?

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.

We're just visiting.

We’re just visiting.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

17 thoughts on “Walk in the woods

  1. Sometimes as we walk around the yard on snowy days I wonder what all those tracks belong to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You make retirement sound awfully interesting, Dawn — thanks for sharing your lovely walk with us!


  3. lovely and sensitive post! Love that photo of Katie on the bottom, beautiful! DakotasDen


  4. it is always amazing when you see the pictures taken from one of those camouflage cameras – just what animals do pass by during the night


  5. Delightful thoughts and pictures.


  6. Interesting to see so many tracks.


  7. I was delighted to discover this post. Once upon a time I actually attended a tracking workshop. Loved it, learned a little bit, have forgotten much (except for the part about paying attention). Now that you’re retired and can devote yourself to unpressured rambling (!) there are some tracking books you might like a lot. One is Tracking & the Art of Seeing by Paul Rezendes. Another is Stan Tekiela’s Mammals of Michigan: A Field Guide. You’ve awakened my dormant tracking urge. I might just have to go back to paying attention.


    • Thank you Gerry, for the recommendations. Would be fun to know for sure what we are seeing when we pay attention. Right now there is no snow on the ground…but I’m sure that will change. I should look at the book to see what that big track might have been.


  8. Beautiful walk, Dawn & Katie. Thank you for sharing it. I love following and wondering about the tracks I find around here (in snow or mud). Don’t tell anyone, but I ponder the scat too. Not too closely, mind you, but I do know it’s another way of tracking who has been walking around the trails here.

    That last shot is stunning. 🙂


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