Yesterday afternoon, the promised snow started falling. The dogs worked together, perhaps each covering one end of a rodent tunnel as they dug deep into the earth paying no attention to the snow.
This morning, although loose and fluffy snow covered our trails, I reminded myself that I'll never know what's possible if I don't try. I tried to ride the untrampled trails with my Fatback. Alas, I rapidly realized that I'd be doing more walking than riding.
I turned around, stowed the bike, and took out my cross-country skis to start the trail packing process. I have a tried-and-true process for attaining packed trails in the winter. I start by skiing the established trails that most neighbors know. Then, everyone in the neighborhood walks and snowshoes in my ski tracks. I find it fascinating that most people only follow tracks but never forge their own path but that's a whole different topic - of a philosophical bent. The bottom line is that I end up with hard-packed trails for my Fatback snow bike.
Later, I secretly make ski tracks that don't follow established trails and are hidden from view. Those tracks remain pristine and awesome for gliding on my touring skis, just so long as no snowshoeing or hiking people find them.
Today, I started what should be an easy trail-packing process because the snow isn't too deep. I had fun breaking trail with my skis while the Labraduo played like a pair of puppies. Snow causes their playful streaks to bubble to the surface. R found a stick and K grabbed the other end. The pair moved synchronously as they bounded through the snow.
Leap upward for the next bound.
Fly through the air and land on the front limbs.
If only I could be as carefree and physically strong as the duo!
While I watched K and R play, a mountain chickadee called to me as if he had an important message. He fluttered toward me and landed close to my head on a pine branch. He seemed to look at me as he chirped. I think that this feathered messenger brought important advice. Be tough and resilient, just like he is.
Aside from bird chirps and squirrel tracks, I saw no signs of animal activity. No fresh tracks by deer, elk, bobcats, lions, foxes, coyotes, or rabbits. I wonder if they all hunkered down for the winter blast.
Today, with no conscious effort, I fell into the rhythm of being part of the forest rather than a visitor observing it. I felt like a part of the web of life despite the common belief that humans are somehow above nature's vicissitudes. Living among predators higher than me on the food chain and seeing evidence of their presence (like the lion tracks yesterday) helps foster that feeling. Moreover, the feeling is fostered by watching the animals and plants fight for survival just like we do every single day. The details of our daily battles are different but the indomitable spirit to live and flourish is the same.