We have epic snow. This is not news to anyone who has been following New England weather. And some might use another word for it. But not me. I like snow, which is good because there is more than three feet of beautiful white powder mounded everywhere, blanketing our fields and woods, burying noise and busy-ness.
The woods are lovely, white and deep so I slapped on my skis and glided into them the other day. The papery beech leaves shivered on their branches. My skis schussed quietly, sometimes sinking, sometimes gliding. Snow rendered everything smooth and polished like river stones.
But what have we here? A track cut across my bucolic path.
It looked like the tire treads from a wheeled vehicle, but it was on top of the snow. And it led right to a tree. Hmm. What could it be?
Discarded on the snow were a wreath’s worth of hemlock tips.
Only one critter leaves that calling card.
Yup, a quill pig. There he was enjoying a balsam fir snack.
I observed him for a while, then continued on my way into deeper woods where I found another spot littered with evergreen tips and sure enough, another porcupine up a tree. Deer tracks criss-crossed my trail and I was surprised they didn’t sink in further. Snowshoe hare seem to have established highways. I was hoping to find a ruffed grouse hunkered down in a personal igloo, but no luck.
Eventually, I turned back as I was losing light and it looked like – what else? – snow. And sure enough, it did, for most of three days, softly and gently, not disrupting life too much (we went skiing, we went to school). But it piled up. The roof needed shoveling and the driveway snowblowing. But that just meant the piles were all the deeper for this: