Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making Tracks

What a morning for a walk. Fresh air, bright sunshine, fresh snow.
The snow that fell yesterday created perfect conditions for seeing who has been out and about all night. Some interesting creatures made tracks through our property. In the plantation, lots of rabbit and fox tracks plus snow-filled human boot tracks -- my husband trying to find the porcupine that is eating his spruce trees.
But in our yard! Such surprises. I followed a muskrat track from its end to it beginning, from one end of our property to the other and all the checkpoints in between, although its true beginning was obscured by snow swept into the ditch by the plow. Likely it came from the river, crossing the road to us. Why it carried on into what is left of the woods behind us is a muskrat mystery.
Fox and muskrat and human

Muskrat and cat

This is what children who don't live in the country miss. All these tracks, all these animals, all the stories. This connection to nature. Things that go bump in the night.
When I taught outdoor education back in the mid-nineties at a centre north of Toronto, the children who lived in apartment complexes were the most gobsmacked by tracks and birds, bugs in the field and frogs at the pond. Imagine their reaction when I discovered under a tree a ball of mouse fur and tiny white bones that had been regurgitated and spit out by the owl that ate it.
Put away the phones and video games and go for a walk at the park, across a field, through the woods. Stop, look and listen. There is so much life out there that is living out there in the world despite our best attempts to destroy it.
I can't imagine ever going for a walk and feeling utterly alone. But considering that the two pairs of pileated woodpeckers that lived in the woods next to our house haven't been seen since all the trees were cut down, the day could come when there are no tracks but my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment