Over the last two weeks, we have had 13 inches of snow, and winter has just begun. I consider this good news.
I love snow. A fresh snowfall makes the world pristine and quiet. It brings serenity to my busy life.
A few days ago, with 5 inches of snow already on the ground, it flurried all day. I wandered into the woods to a favorite spot and sat on a favorite log. The flurries swirled around me. It was so quiet I could hear the snowflakes as they danced on my windbreaker.
In the distance I heard a chickadee call. Then a pileated woodpecker flew silently above me, so close I could hear its wing whoosh.
After about 15 minutes, I continued my leisurely walk until I found an area of trampled snow. Nearly hand-sized, three-pronged footprints told me a flock of turkeys had been foraging in the area.
As I wandered back toward the house, I crossed many deer trails. To call them trails is an understatement. They were more like highways through the woods.
As my feeding station came into view, I stopped and scanned the feeders. Goldfinches covered the nyjer feeder, and chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers flew constantly back and forth to the other feeders filled with black-oil sunflower seeds. The highlight, though, was a flock of cardinals, including seven bright red males, perched in the snow-covered trees. There is no more beautiful winter sight.
But it was a dark form just beyond the feeders that caught and held my eye. A single doe was bedded down in the snow. I didn't know how long she had been there, but I hurried up the hill to see how easily she would spook.