Three Winter Tales

Posted on March 1, 2009


Saturday was the kind of winter day that makes me glad to live here in spite of everything.  After struggling with Scott Thomas’s assignment (a photo that would tell a story), I found three.       

Hills overlooking mountains below

Hills overlooking mountains below

My sister Mary, who lives in Utah, sends me stunning pictures of the mountains in her back yard.  Here in Antrim County we make do with the icy heaps winter storms pile up on the shore, and the magnificent snowpiles that accumulate at driveway ends and the edges of parking lots. They’re quite impressive when they’re fresh and white and gleam in the sunshine. Must be nice to look down on them from the house atop the hill.

Through the ice tunnel

The Mysterious Ice Tunnel

You’ll have to make up your own story about this tunnel. I have no idea how it formed. I will, though, tell you how I came to take the picture. I was walking the dogs atop some crusty snow when I spotted what I thought was an ice cave. I bent down to look into it, and tried to frame a shot. One heedless step forward and one tug on the leashes from impatient dogs and FWOOMP, I sprawled on my face, legs buried to the knees. While I was down there contemplating how on earth I was going to get myself out of the fix I was in, I looked up and saw that the cave was a tunnel with a view at the end, sort of like those hollow Easter eggs.  I decided this was a gift from Mama Nature and accepted it.

Cottontail tracks in the evening

Cottontail tracks at evening

I see snowshoe hares and cottontail rabbits fairly often. Late in the afternoon they leave the relative safety of the brushy road edges and the wild raspberry bramble to go down to the beach, presumably to drink from the icy puddles at the foot of the bluff, or to browse on some tender shoots. Maybe they, too, admire the sunsets. I do not know why they make the perilous journey, but the owls and hawks and foxes are glad they do.

Tracking & the Art of SeeingNote: I’m learning to identify tracks.  I think those are cottontail tracks because they look just like the ones on page 102 of Tracking & the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks & Sign (by Paul Rezendes, Camden House Publishing, 1992).  HarperCollins released an updated edition in 1999. If you follow that link you can browse through selected pages of the book on the HarperCollins site.