Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Delicate Impressions

with 5 comments

There is a new covering of snow that has created a fresh surface for our forest creatures to make their marks upon. I’ve gotten no better over the years at differentiating the identity of the range of little footprints made by squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and mice, but I know all of them are out there running around.

It starts with one or two crossing our trails while snow is still falling and by 24 hours later, it looks like everyone is out and about. Yesterday, we found evidence of a feathered friend, or friends, dancing around on the white carpet.









I love seeing the gentle wisps of wing feathers adding context to visible footwork scribbled in the snow.

While I had my camera out to capture all this art, I spotted a different sort of impression. I love the combination of the shadow of sunlight and the indented snow impression on either side of this dried plant that wind had pressed down.

No pictures were taken during our last walk of the night because it was too dark, but there were plenty of beautiful views we enjoyed as I pulled the trash bin down our driveway to the road.

I wore a headlamp but never turned it on. With the small crescent moon reflecting light onto the white snow-covered ground, there was just enough light that I could navigate my way.

The sky was crystal clear, which explains the space-like below-zero temperatures we are experiencing again. We put blankets back on the horses earlier in the night after giving them a break for a few days. The stars were so bright we almost didn’t need the reflections off the slice of the moon that was visible.

I noticed the horses were standing at the bottom of the slope from the barn, near the gate to the hayfield, as we passed by. As Delilah and I neared the top of the last rise in the driveway before it drops down to the road, my peripheral vision picked up motion to my right.

Turning my head to figure out what it was brought an unexpected startle of the four horses jogging along the fence beside us. We all stopped as I turned my whole body to acknowledge them and exchange greetings. Delilah seemed unimpressed with having company on our trek.

As I resumed pulling the trash bin along the driveway, the four blanketed horses decided to run off in a beautiful semi-moonlit arc off the rise and back down toward the outer perimeter of the paddock fence line.

The delicate impressions of walking the trash to the road always make the chore well worth the effort, even in hazardous wind-chill conditions.



Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2022 at 7:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. You still persist with your notion of ‘chores’ – don’t you see what they bring you? Look at all your wonderful insights and the awareness that there is a myriad of, otherwise, hidden life all around you that they trigger in you… I don’t see chores but rather ‘blessings’, which allow me to be part of the process of life, for I know without them I would surely die in ‘no time’.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 7, 2022 at 9:18 am

    • Ah, but, Ian, you appear to be adhering to the negative connotation of chores that I don’t focus on. The first definition in my dictionary declares it a “routine task.” As you so deftly point out, our routines are a blessing!


      January 7, 2022 at 6:07 pm

      • Yes, I do remember people in general moaning and groaning and using the word. Even conceptualising something as a ‘routine task’ suggests something is lost, the uniqueness of the moment, the play in the process, the fruitfulness of the interaction. But yes, the simple sound of the word grates on my ears. It reminds me of ‘choking’ although perhaps I might remember ‘cheerfulness’. It is quite possible that the word has different cultural contexts and associations, I guess. I must admit I simple don’t find it appealing and it makes me want to turn away. But as you point out, you don’t think of it that way and that is what counts.

        Ian Rowcliffe

        January 8, 2022 at 12:09 pm

      • I should start refering our daily exercises of caring for our animals as our “cheers.” Would it be incorrect to pair the words, unique and routine? We feed and clean up after our animals multiple times every day as a normal routine, but every incident is unique and as you point out, a special blessing.


        January 9, 2022 at 11:18 am

      • Yes, ‘cheers’ is quite uplifting, fun and friendly. Nice one, John!

        Ian Rowcliffe

        January 10, 2022 at 4:33 pm

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