Walking in a Winter Wonderland

A cold and various errands kept me out of the forest this past week.  I decided to get back out today.  I brought a small offering as well as some food scraps.  Some may balk at bringing “garbage” to the woods, but I don’t have an operational compost heap or worm bin at the moment.  I refuse to contribute any more than I must to the garbage dump.  There are creatures out there who would love cranberries that are too squishy for my taste.  I also brought some hair out.  In the spring, some bird will happily use it in a nest.

I spent a few minutes with the birch tree I’ve been working with.  I also followed some tracks for awhile.  Lot of deer tracks.  I’ve noticed they like to rest in areas with a lot of pine.  I like being in those areas, too.  For me, there’s something comforting about the green even when it’s so dreadfully cold and dead seeming.  I wonder if the deer feel that way?  Of course, their chief concern is shelter and food.  It seems that they eat some of the pine.  I noticed small, felled branches which seem to have been nibbled.  I read somewhere that deer mostly survive on fat in the winter and don’t eat all that much.  They are so interesting…

I also found some smaller tracks which I followed to what seemed to be an animal’s den.  They were hard to identify but were spaced differently than a rabbit’s and too large for a squirrel.  I wonder what it was?  I wish I had a camera to leave out there…

I scared some pheasants out of hiding.  I didn’t get the best look at the first one so I don’t know if it was male or female.  The other two were definitely female.  They didn’t stick around and I feel bad for frightening them.  Also saw plenty of chickadees.  They aren’t as easy to scare.  Some come really close to stare at me with tiny, curious eyes.  I laughed at one who was particularly daring.  “You’re not afraid of me!  You know I’m big and clumsy.”  Surely I must make so much noise trudging through the woods.  At some point during my childhood, I listened to a Mohawk storyteller.  He explained how his people walked quietly in the woods to hunt and I sometimes try to do that.  I should more often.  I will probably learn and see more if I slow down.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

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