The neighbor’s cat occasionally makes a tour of our backyard, leaving a tidy row of prints behind. The squirrels leave their prints in leaping exclamation points. The raccoons I haven’t caught yet, although I know they’ll be back to sample the trash when we have something really deliciously rancid.
I suspect in snow this deep there might be some drag from the belly and tail to roughen up the trail. But I’ve never watched a coon in snow, so that’s just conjecture.
The most evocative set of woodland prints I ever saw were left by a rabbit. I was tracking the rabbit for no particular reason—because the snow was soft and new; because it was winter; because it was more fun than doing homework; because the woods were beautiful—when the tracks suddenly crossed an open space in the bracken and abruptly ended. Fanned out on either side was the feather-light print of a hawk’s wingtip.
Tracks. Prints. Steps.
Another way of seeing the past year and thinking about the next one. I tend to do my really serious goal-setting around my birthday in September, but New Year’s is four months into my year and a nice time to check up on the progress.
I’ve done a few things (sample some ocean sports; throw myself a birthday party; complete a Bible study; join a small group), and I’ve started a lot more (do a 365 challenge; scrap Iris’s baby album; maintain a lower-carb lifestyle; create and keep a personal/home budget). I did NOT accomplish the homey/detail-oriented/picture-perfect Christmas I planned to just knock out in my imaginary spare time.
But there’s always next year.
In fact, I may have been staring at this photo too long, but the more I think about it the more fitting this image seems for new years, for the past, for the various meanderings of our life journeys.
Tracks in the snow.
And also (because this photo is too fun not to share) baby steps.
Hope your new year is full of resolution—but only the flexible, friendly kind that makes growth fun and never disheartening.