I had a nice cross country ski yesterday. It was the second day in a row that I skied, so I have formed a habit and vowed to ski daily until my skis hit mud. Even then, I may invent something and keep going, but the snow looks safe to last for a few more weeks, so it’s too early to say. Definitely until mud though, or at least until Wednesday.
I’ve been itching to ski the edges of the property. The fields are crisscrossed with various trails and I wanted to see where they were coming from and try to figure out what they were. I got myself behind some cedar clumps and discovered a thoroughfare. Everybody and their uncle seems to have walked that way.
Whose woods these are, I thought I knew, I said first. Then with so many prints I couldn’t know for sure, I adjusted. Whose woods these are, I wish I knew. Deer and many rabbits, I saw for sure, maybe a racoon. Villages of little creatures with tiny adorable feet tracks were a fine reward for the few feet of brambles I shallumped through to get there. (Shallumping is what happens when sometimes skiers wearing antique skis in desperate need of wax, jab them into brambles and attempt to advance. This is not the same as Haruhuhuhuhuhumphing, for which there really is no word. Haruhuhuhuhuhumphing is what happens when a skier with few inborn skills and a history broken fidelity vows to their skis, is alone and encounters a chest high gate sealed shut by two feet of snow. Solitude suggests a midair roll more efficient than ski removal. A very, very slow motion affair ensues as the skis on one foot or the other poke in unforeseen directions thereby bringing the gate embracing operation to numerous pauses to untangle and re-envision the completion of the roll.)
My father said that the very orderly typewriter series of paw prints belong to a fox. (We either have a lot of foxes nearby or there is one very harried, and no doubt immensely skinny fox with obsessive compulsive issues about paths in our fields. Possibly he is an artist with a vision we can’t see from the ground.) Last week, I watched three animals cross the lake in the early morning. Even with binoculars I couldn’t get a clear sense of them. We skied out later to see the tracks. That mystery is now solved as well. There were fox on the lake.
We laid our coats near the tracks on the lake that day and went for a longer ski. We picked them up on the way back most pleased with a lake so big and so frozen. We had a bit of a shock two days later when there was open water in the same spot we’d laid out coats. And what did the fox say then?
More things to wonder about.