In other winters, I have found these particular woods criss-crossed with animal tracks of many kinds: deer, fox, coyote, fisher, and -- nearer the water -- otter and mink. But not today. Not even a trace of the trails of squirrels or mice. All the critters must still be holed up in their dens since the start of this storm. Well, I take that back. I did find one critter. But it didn't leave much of a trail as it walked across the snow.
I'm always amazed to find spiders walking about in winter. What do they find to eat this time of year? Maybe they forage for hibernating insects hidden in the clefts of tree bark. Or perhaps they feed on snow fleas or winter stoneflies or similar tiny critters that startle me by their lively presence in the wintry woods.
At least this nice thick layer of snow has brought some light into the woods, covering the dull dead brown of the forest floor and providing a foil for the rich tobacco-brown leaves that still cling to this Witch Hazel shrub. The little beeches behind it still hold their leaves, too, although of a paler golden hue.
It's late on Friday night as I sign off this blog post, and I hear the rain falling outside. I guess I will soon get my wish that this snow should all go away. I'm really glad now that I did get out to enjoy it.