I stepped out of the shower after a walk around town with friend Marita and heard someone chatting away on the answering machine. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have my glasses on, though what that has to do with it I don’t know, but I couldn’t ID the voice. The male yammered away about something in the snow and it had come last night and I had to get there quickly. For some reason I thought it was our eldest and I wondered what it was that needed my immediate attention. So, I cautiously picked up the phone and said hello. The voice on the other end continued talking desperately about me going somewhere. “Who is this?” I asked. It was friend Dick and I should have recognized his voice, but maybe not having glasses on is like not being able to taste if your nose is stuffed. Or maybe I’m overthinking as usual. Dick, however, was not overthinking or overreacting. He was excited and knew I would be as well. He was standing in a friend’s yard about a half mile from here and looking at bear tracks in the snow.
As he knew he would, he had me on the word “bear.” His voice was urgent as he insisted I stop everything and get to his friend’s house. “I just need to dry my hair and then I’ll be right there,” I said. Deadlines loomed before me but bear tracks won my internal war. Dick suggested I just wrap a towel around my head. Really, that’s what I should have done because my hair has no sense of style whether wet or dry, so after a few minutes I said the heck with it and popped into my truck, camera and trackards in hand.
Yup–bear tracks. Classic, beautiful bear tracks. Even nail marks above the toes.
And the pigeon-toed gait.
My heart be still. The bear certainly wasn’t.
It trampled a garden fence.
And yanked down a suet feeder that dangled from a wonderful rigging at second story height designed to keep the raccoons from stealing it. We couldn’t find the actual feeder.
It toppled another feeder and consumed all the sunflower seeds. Oh, the squirrels may have helped, but apparently the feeder was stock full. Not any more. We looked for hair but found none.
One of the mysteries to us was why did the bear suddenly trot. I’m now wondering if it was startled at some point and ran away.
Before leaving, I enjoyed one more look. How sweet it is. And how thrilled I was to have seen it–especially knowing that it wouldn’t last long. The. Big.
When I arrived home, I knew I needed to work, but figured a quick walk to check on the vernal pool was a great way to celebrate the bear tracks. And on my way–feathers. Long black feathers.
Most were about a foot long.
They appeared to be torn out rather than cut.
I know the neighborhood cats hang around our bird feeders all day–ever hopeful. But I don’t think they got this crow. I’ve a feeling a hawk was the culprit. The. In. Between.
It’s my neighborhood, so I always cast an eye toward the Mount. The. Big. Again.
The water level seems about the same as last week and a wee bit of Tuesday’s snow still decorated the western shore.
Though the lighting wasn’t great at that hour, it was obvious that the tadpole population had increased.
And the salamanders continued to grow within their protective covering. The. Little.
I did finally settle down to work. And then it was lunch time. My guy and I weren’t the only ones dining.
After I finished two assignments and before I walked to a meeting, I decided to visit the pool again and capture the action in the late afternoon light. But first, an examination of the woodchuck’s feeding site. Yup, those leaves were nibbled.
And so were these. The. In. Between.
And then it was back to the pool, where the snow had melted. But, I have to share a finding along the way. Or rather, a non-finding. I intended to grab the crow head because I wanted the skull. Not. It wasn’t in the path where I’d seen it in the morning. I poked around and couldn’t find it anywhere. Who stole it? Maybe one of those darn cats.
In the warmth of the sun at the eastern side of the pool where most of the egg masses were laid, the population continued to increase.
I felt the same glee about all of these little critters as I felt about the bear tracks earlier in the day.
Tadpoles and salamanders. I may not see bears tracks every day, but for a brief moment in time, I’m honored to watch the transformation that takes place in the vernal pool. The. Little. Times. Two.
Giving thanks for the ability to wonder. The Big. The Little. And Everything In Between. Especially Everything.