Thursday, October 29, 2009

How I Spent My Snow Days

So it's been snowing here in Denver for almost 48 hours, and to shake off the cabin fever, I thought it might be fun to go for a ramble to see what manner of creatures were leaving their tracks in the snow. A few nights ago, a great horned owl plopped herself on a lamppost outside my window [cue the "Wildfire" theme music], and that left me feeling up for another surprise encounter.

As I trudged along in the snow near a creek, a set of dog tracks beside a man's very large ones made me think it would be interesting to find some coyote tracks to follow. Then it occurred to me that those "dog" tracks ran in a perfect single file line, like the kind overweight, waddling, city dogs tend not to make. I looked up to see how far ahead these tracks led, and in a furry flash, saw something moving just off a footbridge over the creek.

That's the thing about tracking. At some point, you're going to find the creature that made the tracks standing in them. The biggest coyote I have ever seen in my entire life slipped around the bridge and towards some trees without looking in my direction. I noted the wind; it was in my face, so perhaps she had not scented me. Excited, I followed her tracks for a few yards until another thought stopped me cold: I am out here walking in the snow because I've eaten today and need the exercise. She's out here today because she hasn't eaten and is looking for a meal.

I walked home with a very big stick and more than the occasional glance over my shoulder. No wonder we have so many fliers for lost cats and dogs in this area. Seeing the coyote was a nice Nature moment, and I want to go back out again for another (I'm thinking a moonlit, snowbright night), but that might be a very good way to end up on the back of a milk carton. After all, it's almost Halloween, and who knows what's really walking out there?


Blogger secondwaver said...

Neat story. It's a gift to be reminded to see the wildness behind the veil of our everyday. So thanks!

10/30/2009 4:22 PM  
Blogger Fire Witch said...

Yes, wild nature is so much closer than we tend to let ourselves see.

Glad you liked the story, Secondwaver. Cheers, for letting me know.

10/31/2009 12:30 PM  

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