Once upon a time in a land close, close at hand, there lived a family of Otters who were mothered by a Snowshoe Hare.
They spent most of their days and nights exploding through the ice and sliding up and down the mill pond’s edge.
But one day their momma rounded up some snowshoes large and small and strapped them on to all.
The family headed off through the woods where moments of wonder captured their attention.
It wasn’t long into their journey when a winter firefly upon the snowy surface stopped them in their tracks.
E. Otter took the firefly that overwinters as an adult and looked for a safe place to deposit it.
She found such in an old beetle hole upon a dead snag and wished it well before she hopped away.
W. Otter found another tree that he quickly identified as a yellow birch and then honored with a hug.
C. Otter looked upon the bark of a beech tree and was thrilled to spy a fungi.
On the tree’s back side he spied another and posed above the false tinder conk.
Soon, the little Otters convinced their momma that they didn’t want to try to be hares any more and so they shed their snowshoes.
Within moments, A. Otter decided to instead try his feet at being a frog.
Catching some air, he leapt up the trail.
By a vernal pool he revealed his true identity–a tree frog.
Soon, his siblings joined him as they channeled their inner tree frogs.
A short distance later, momma couldn’t help but smile when her young’uns displayed their angelic nature.
Those angelic Otters eventually found their way to the top of a huge boulder.
And then they began to do what Otters do.
And climbed back up.
To slide some more.
Sometimes, it seemed as if they flew down the boulder’s face.
Other times they bounded.
In true Otter rhythm, one foot landed diagonally in front of the other.
After creating a series of troughs in the snow, they begged their momma to join them.
Being a Snowshoe Hare, she wasn’t sure she would be able to slide quite the way they did.
But she shed her inhibitions and climbed up to join her children.
After noting how scary it was, she smiled and slid down in one of the troughs the children had created.
Once was not enough and up and down she went again.
At last it was time to head for home. Being Otters, the children thought they might just den up below their favorite boulder. The youngest, of course, pouted for he wanted to slide some more.
But moments later, he showed his momma how much he loved her by presenting her with a snowheart.
What an otterly delightful family and equally otterly delightful way to spend the day!