Tracks of my days


While shoveling some snow recently, I managed to go from one end of the driveway to the other.



Assorted tracks that could involve dogs, cats, coyotes or others.

I saw them all in the snow. Some actually in the driveway. Some off a bit in the yard. In a few places, the deer tracks seemed to be forming trails of sorts, with a few sets of prints that I know have been added to over the past couple of days.

There really isn’t a pattern here that suggests any of these visitors have returned every day. Rabbit track appears on Monday. Another one on Thursday. Nothing since.

Those deer tracks? On the day after the snow arrived, they made up three paths across the yard in slightly different directions. Days later, those same three paths are in place. But the three paths have a few extra sets of tracks, though the numbers in each seem to vary. And now a deer seems to have used the main road to get onto and off of the edge of the driveway. Still, like the rabbit tracks, the additions didn’t happen in consecutive overnights.

I hesitate to call them coyote tracks, hence the mentioning of dogs as a possibility, but that’s what they look like. And a news report recently spoke about safety for pets with coyotes roaming not too far from our house. Talked on the phone with a friend of mine, and he seemed to think a wolf was possible as well.

The animal tracks aren’t the crazier part of the story though, so let’s shift a bit.

I actually started this essay because of tire tracks. Been moving our cars to shovel here and there, and also for some random errands that came up. I moved the cars around in the driveway, and also left twice to get on the main road, turning in different directions for different errands.

Then there are my footprints. Fetching the mail. Bringing the trash out. Shoveling snow.

And… well… none of my tracks were made on consecutive days. Whether by foot or by car, they differ slightly in where they are and the direction they turn. They are created by different purposes.

I am not doing this to suggest that a coyote is moving along to grab its mail. Don’t want to create the impression I believe a deer or two are crossing my yard to get some take out. And while I’d love it if a racoon hopped on by to clear some of the snow from our driveway—I’d even leave a couple of bucks for its troubles if it did—I’m not expecting one to stop in immediately after the next storm clears.

And yet, the parallels are there. They make tracks across my yard to get from point a to point b. If some critters are visiting nearby corn fields for leftovers… if they have set up a place for bedding down… the realities are, habits are comforting not just because they’re familiar but also because they usually have purpose and reason behind them. This is more protected, this has better access to food, this has… the elements for survival, whether us or deer or turkeys or whatever, well, they aren’t as different as we might want to believe.

At the end of my driveway are some tracks. Tracks to my mailbox. Tracks out into the street and down the road toward the grocery store. Tracks leading off into the woods. We all have different things to do, and we all leave some marks when we do.


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