Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Prancing and Pawing of Each Little Foot

This morning I woke to a chilly Oregon winter. No snow on the ground but a blanket of white frost tipped the trees. I'm living with my friends, Paulette and Mike. It is a new move for me and a good one. Paulette came back to Darke County with me in July and fell in love with my roots.

Once in awhile deer wander into their yard. I'm always looking for them, and she is always hoping they will leave her plants alone. A couple of days ago I got a call from her.

"They're in the backyard!" she exclaimed. "Three of them! I took a picture for you."

Well, the picture is great, but I really would like to have seen the real thing.

It got me to thinking of the little things we took for granted on the farm. After a night time snow, the activity of those sleepy hours was evident on the clean, unblemished surface. It wasn't unusual for Dad to pop his head into the kitchen door to announce that we'd had a nightly visitor. Maybe a fox. Maybe a raccoon. Always a possum. Dad knew where the sheep were headed and where the rabbits had been. My horse in her shaggy winter coat stood in the barnyard wondering what all the excitement was about. The dog came to the house to find a warm body. Chickens roosted a bit closer, and the horse trough would be frozen. Dad's boot prints would add to the others.

I was always fascinated looking out across the yard at the little grey indentations crossing the snow. They seemed  sometimes to wander and circle as if looking for something. Other times they were in a straight path to a destination. Many lead to the barn where the critter could find warmth. The night time visitors to the farm left their signs.

I wonder if as a child I looked for reindeer hoof prints. I'm sure they would have been evident. Of course, Dad wasn't about to climb up a ladder to check out the roof of the house. Well, anyway, we had plenty of prancing and pawing in the barnyard. The prancing of pawing of each little foot...er, hoof.

On A Grandparent's Voice today: Unbridled Love

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