When the snow falls on the last day of the year, embrace all that it has to offer.
And there’s no better way to do such than by strapping on the old snowshoes and taking a selfie. My style of selfie, that is.
As you head into the woods, the first thing you should do is locate a treasure map. You never know where it might lead. Sometimes, you’ll discover you’re traveling in circles, as I did a couple of times today.
If the map leads you under archways, be sure to duck.
Or if it presents a field of pine saplings, find your way around them. Do be sure to look for insects and spiders as you pass by.
Today, all I saw were needle-like snowflakes.
You might soon discover that you aren’t the only one on a quest: the batman-shape of prints may indicate other travelers on the snow–in this case a squirrel.
At some point, you may come to realize that others followed the directions on the map, but at an earlier time. By the muted hour-glass shape and depth of the track, you should recognize it as a white-tailed deer.
If you are really fortunate, the map will lead you to deer beds, the rounded part of each large indentation indicating the back of the mammal.
When you look up, you’ll understand why they chose this location to bed down during the night–the huge hemlock above provided some protection from the weather.
Take a few more steps and suddenly you may discover that fresh tracks had been left behind probably moments before you approached.
And though your brain may trick you into thinking the deer had gotten a head start on a New Year’s Eve party, reality will sink in when you remember that they have two basic needs: food and safety from prey.
Fresh beds may also make themselves visible and by the shape you might begin to envision a head on the snow just right of the center, the rounded back side on the left and extended legs toward the bottom right of the impression.
As you continue your journey more treasures will be revealed, like the “naked,” yet hairy buds of hobblebush keeping winter’s weather at bay.
And the waxy scales of beech buds doing the same. For some, such a sight will provide a measure of hope that spring will come again.
Be sure to enjoy all the messages on the map, such as this one: be proud of your roots and don’t be afraid to let them show.
Or this: interruptions happen and that’s probably a good thing.
Always do you best to be as transparent as possible.
Listen to you mama and dress in layers.
Don’t be afraid to cross boundaries (even if they’re marked).
Recognize that you may have some prickly moments.
And in the end, check in on old friends and make new ones.
When the last day of the year, in fact, of the decade, gives you snow . . . make a snow person.
The heartiest lesson of all: take time to laugh with it and at yourself. Ho Ho Ho!
Happy New Year, dear readers. I truly appreciate having you along for each wonder-filled wander.