What does winter look like? Do you need snow on the ground, does it have to be below zero to feel like winter? I guess it all depends where you are geographically. I find that here in Creston, it can involve white stuff and minus temperatures but not always. We had a green Christmas this year although we did end up getting some snow the day after. Overall it has felt pretty mild this year so far, I know that will change, but for this coastal raised gal, I am just fine with it! For me, growing up on Vancouver Island, winter meant rain and fog, lots of rain and fog...
Over the holidays, I was out for a walk with my kids on our property and we found an interesting animal track in the snow. We pondered it for a bit...It looked like a smaller mammal made the prints, although the snow was just a skiff, light and fluffy, so we could not see a distinct track, just a small tunnel made by a leg that went all the way to the ground. My 7 year old daughter pointed out that it looked like something dragged in the snow as it walked...maybe a tail she thought.
We pondered what it could be. A mouse, a vole, a rat? My 4 year old was pretty excited at the possibility of a rat although I think that if he actually saw one in real life there would be some high pitched shrieking going on! A salamander? My daughter wondered if a salamander could be out in this weather. It could I said. It would be slow moving, but it's possible.
We settled on it being a small rodent, a mouse...Below are two pictures of the tracks in case you are keen to help us make a positive ID!!
With so much craziness happening in the world, from the pandemic to civil unrest, I take pleasure in these small but precious moments of contemplating animal tracks in the snow with my kids. It makes me feel grounded to be out in nature, being curious, exploring, asking questions. And through the lens of a child, it makes it that much more authentic.
Please enjoy the outdoors this winter! It's amazing what some fresh air and exercise can do for one's health and mental well being. We have a Winter Survival Quiz for you and some fun links to winter tracking, ice formations and exploring the subnivean zone (what is that, right?!). Read more below!
Senior Manager, KCDCS