Monday, December 8, 2008

Of Hares and Hounds

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

Today saw the first measurable snow around my place. I could barely wait for daylight to go out and see what kind of critters had crossed my driveway during the early-morning hours. Fresh tracks on newly-fallen snow excite me.

Surprisingly, I saw only one kind of track. A hare had loped along the side of my drive and then slowly hopped down the center. But then it reversed direction and the tracks became farther apart, indicating that the bunny had put on a burst of speed. I wondered what might have alarmed the hare. The answer soon became evident.

Someone has the inconsiderate and displeasing habit of walking their dog along the road and stopping in front of my driveway, where it relieves itself either in the driveway or around the mailbox post. This morning, the evidence told me that the dog spotted the hare and made after it. The owner succeeded in stopping it before it went too far, though. The dog, obviously obedient, stopped and trotted back toward the road.

Normally, I would have pursued the hare myself, following its tracks as they led through high sedge and fir thickets. But with temperatures in the single numbers and 25 mile-an-hour winds, it was just too uncomfortable for that. Hopefully, the hare will survive and I will chase it on some other morning when the bushes hang heavy with new-fallen snow.

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