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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Web of life

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.

Kia kaha.


  1. I loved the pics with Team Labraduo carrying the stick!

    Thanks again for another pawesome post!

  2. That's pretty funny about the way the trails are packed after you ski them and others follow suit. Seems to work out well for you!

    Once again, another lovely day of pictures. Thanks so much for allowing us to be a part of your many adventures.

  3. I love chickadees. They are so sweet. And, your 2 with that stick crack me up. Silly!

    You are so clever with your trail packing strategy. Sneaky!

    Clearly, I need to break out the real winter clothes so that I can stand to be outside longer. Lilly is driving me BATTY today with her fussiness.

  4. Hm. I upload my pictures into a new folder each month on Photobucket to keep them organized. I am wondering if my naming of these folders could be pat of the problem.

    For example, this month is called "Nov 09." When I created the folders, I didn't stop to think that the space in between the month and year could be problematic, since many browsers insert a "%20" in the place of every blank space. Next month, I'm going to omit the space in the folder's name, and see if it resolves any of the issues.

    I tried to edit the post and upload a couple of the pictures directly to Blogger rather than Photobucket, but it seemed to have froze. Computers can be such a pain!

  5. You are a little schemer there with your trail plotting:)

    Looks like the pups had fun. We have snow headed our way tomorrow, but it is all going to go north of us. One of these days we will get some.

    Tail wags, the OP Pack

  6. I do love the forest right after a snow fall - not that we have had much experience with that so far this year.

  7. I'm so jealous of your snow! My knee is feeling much better and I'm thinking I should be able to ski. Funny that people walk and snowshoe where you ski. I'm always careful to stay off ski paths and walk alongside them, especially with snow shoes as the fun part of them is walking on untracked snow. Love the doggy duo!

  8. Yeah and you can send us some of that snow, too.


  9. Hi there, Once again you have incredible photos! I always love the dogs but also the meadows after a new snow. You have such an incredible strong spirit and I so admire you. Love those dogs!
    My two send warm greetings from the plains of Colorado.

  10. Hi KB, I love seeing the pups romping (and rolling!) in the snow. No wonder that little bird was hunkered down - it was minus 4 here in the night! I had the fireplace going all day. Keep warm and safe!

  11. Unbelievably gorgeous! I think one of the things that I so enjoy in the winter is late at night when I let the dogs out and it's snowing - sometimes if you are really listening - you can actually hear it hitting the ground.

    Loved the fact that the dogs shared a stick. Mine are so spoiled they each need their own!

  12. What a fantastic day to make those snow trails, have your beautiful pals running together!
    We're HOPING for some snow out here. The storms are bypassing us right now.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose


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