The Stories of Tracks

tracksonlakeBushwhacking the woods
and stomping through snow
in my moose leather mukluks.

A fresh dusting
from this morning
over hard crust
from days before.
The woods seem dead and empty;
but they are not.
The statements I punctuate
through the crust
are surrounded and crossed
by other stories
written in the fresh powder
by authors unseen.

I see a deer had wandered here
and even lay here last night
and then got up
and had a brief
drop of relief
before departing
early this morning.

I see a fox had,
in a smooth and elegant line,
swiftly glided past this plane.
and then went straight back again
from whence she came.
Apparently she did not
find whatever it was
that she sought.

I see a grouse
walked with feet crossed
and wandered
and meandered
and circled
and stumbled
in a seemingly pointless pursuit
so that it can only be assumed
that this poor bird had consumed
some seriously over-ripened fruit.

I see a mouse or vole
and his story was penned
with a scampering trail
but it came to an end
at the base of a hole.
His story
stopped violently
where the swish
of owl wings
brushed the snow
and picked up
where the rodent left off.
It seems that mastered skill
is no match for raw talons.

I see
the tracks
atop a lodge
where a little master builder
had summited the rubble he had piled
to pause
and to view the flooded, frozen ruin
that he had caused
on that pond
and he rested on his paws to ponder
if every act of construction
requires a level of destruction
and if every act of deconstruction
allows the birth of something new.
But who am I kidding?
This isn’t something on which he wood chew.
This isn’t a concern his conscience might log.
He’s just surviving.
He isn’t contriving an opinion.
He doesn’t give a dam
about fate.
At any rate
I think
he felt
how nice it would be
to sit on his house.
He left his tracks
and that inspired me.

And so are the stories
left written in snow:
We can think and assume
but we don’t really know.
Our forensics
and deductions
can tell basic facts.
but imagination
tells the stories
when looking at tracks.