Last night, a winter storm delivered a fresh coat of snow to the ice-covered beaver pond.
The park’s paved roads have been plowed but not the gravel road to the beaver pond, so I have to hike in from the boat ramp parking lot.
Like a guestbook, the snow keeps a record of visitors to the pond since although the signatures were not always easy to read.
On the Beaver Pond Trail, the tracks of wildlife merge with those of human visitors and their dogs.
In places, the hooves of deer searching for liquid water are carved deeply in the snow.
A track from the woods to the pond suggests a beaver returning home to its underwater lodge, its paddle-like tail dragging over the prints left by its feet.
Freshly-gnawed tree trunks and tracks in the surrounding snow provide additional evidence of a beaver presence as recently as this morning.
Hard edges have disappeared beneath curvaceous mounds of white.
The erasure of many landscape details draws my attention to those that remain: a clump of dry grass, the bark of a pine tree, pastel-colored lichen, a bird’s nest and seed balls. Even a tiny twig has a starring role.
A streamlet that normally plays second fiddle to the pond was a hero today to thirsty wildlife.