February 07, 2011


Next weekend can't come soon enough. 
I long to strap on my snowshoes and trek the 400+ acre tract I affectionately nickname the "North 40." I will blaze and meander snowy terrain, randomly follow purposeful tracks, and wind my way to an untouched field. This open farmland whose farthest corners perch high on the hill with corners tucked into the hiding places along stone walls. Yes, there I will go.

Rhythmic paw prints keep score—in double-four time— across a lofty comforter of snow. Follow, turn, and pause. Two paths not yet crossing, not yet uniting. Are these merely woodland strangers or winter foe? Will heedful hare meet craving coyote? I'll never know. Before the finale, impressions retreat under rocks and fallen ash. 

I'll hurdle the rocky partition and seek easier footing along a hooved-highway for back-40 travel. Here deer tracks and dugout ditches bumper oaks for acorn delights. Above, chickadees flit and flee branches scouting for their rations. and the echoing beat of excavating woodpeckers will have long since faded. Beech tree hangs on; its tan flags fluttering.  

Why circle back too soon to the pastureland?  Winter will fold to spring and un-hem snowy edges for fray grassy trim.  Because I must; it feeds my soul. Last fall this patch was chock-full of bull. That morning the sun sparkled along nearly invisible though electrified wire—a humble barrier between me and the tail-flicking, fly-decorated, hot and horned cattle— aw, heck. 
Yes, there I shall go. 

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