Fresh Tracks

On this mild day in early winter, the snowfall is still perched lightly on the bent blades of grass. It won’t be like this for long but today the snow is ornamental, a decorative addition to the world, and not unattractive. A fresh white fluff over dark earth.

In coming weeks, I know, snow will be the world. I will be looking for exceptions to snow, exceptions to the white. So in this still-pretty morning I put on my boots and start a path out to the birdfeeder. The birds have already been active this morning, the ground below the feeder pock-marked with seeds, tiny cavities in the snow where the seeds fell, and equally tiny bird foot prints. And over here, in a track leading through the gap in the back gate, the stealthy soft tracks of a cat. Seeing no feathers under the feeder, I assume the cat’s visit was unfulfilled.

I fill the seed tubes and trek back, bang my boots on the deck, step back into the house. The sun is glazing the soft snow on the roof and it slides off in little watery slipstreams from time to time.

Later in the day I look out and my footprints through the snow have grown gargantuan, as if a Sasquatch meandered through the yard. The edges have spread outward and the darkness of the lawn below has soaked the compacted snow down in. Tracks that were sharp and clear are bigger, broader, darker.

I am a writer with a draft on white space and when I look back my word-path has become something different. My path is never wholly my own.

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