"Merry Christmas" in mouse said the tracks between my shed and the Ponderosa pine. Yesterday morning, I had gone outside to read the night's traffic report. A handful of deer had been kicking aside snow to get to ivy, a rabbit had hopped towards the road, a raccoon had meandered through, and the mouse trails rounded every building. The scratchings of bird feet made delicate marks in gatherings where the snow met the edges of dirt under the pines, as if the birds had been dancing at dawn. My yard's fresh snow was bisected with so many animal trails that it resembled a Seattle freeway grid. Such is the winter commute to my holiday abode by my wild guests.
With glorious sunlight on the newly-fallen snow, I took a short walk up the river. Without Lizzie.
And without Art, who was hiking the loop high around a knoll across the way from the cabin. He was up where we had heard a cougar on Thanksgiving Day. He saw the tracks of that elk above, but heard no cougar. He saw no animals, just clouds drifting across the mountains.
Before I retire on this Eve, I wish all of you:
"God Rest Ye..." in raccoon.