So the fall ended with the snowfall. First a couple of inches, then several more, and then a final round that put us into double digits of white to be pushed and shoveled as we dip our toe into winter.
How many times over the past month had I asked for and received one more nice fall day to tidy up the outdoors chores? Now, those “one mores” may be gone. That log of dry red elm firewood is out of sight, but not out of mind. I may get to it some winter’s day.
In past years I was not ready for snow. Firewood piles were not covered, bird feeders not filled, and my black and white checkered wool coat — my dad’s some 50 years ago — not yet brought out. This year I was set for no other reason perhaps but the experience of time.
And, oh yes, shovels and snowshoes. I have multiples of both, and they were on call. Shovels first — work before play. The snow was far from fluffy, so after tiring of dealing with snow sticking to the shovel, I found some old car wax and coated the plastic surface. It worked.
Then I switched from clearing snow to pounding down a snowy path to visit the woodland trails, meadows and fields in their pureness of winter.
I used the wider of my snowshoes to break path. Somehow the faint trail of last winter was distinguishable as a narrow opening between the leaning goldenrod and short spurts of brush. I had used it before, but animals far more than me follow this path year round.
The trail had only one faint deer track, but I knew my efforts would pay off for the critters that night. Sure enough, I came back the next day to see deer, rabbit and fox tracks in my tracks. So I followed them, who had followed me. It took me to the quiet calm.
Greschner is Rice Lake Chronotype sports editor.