March 12, 2004
The Cruelest Month
Earlier this week I had been talking to someone about how March was the cruelest month, and today I had proof.
The glimpse of spring that we had a few days ago has been snatched away from us, and the cold, bony hands of winter have returned their grasp upon the landscape. We've gotten a fair amount of snow in each of the last few days. I used the new covering of snow to get some images that I need for a project that I want to work on.
I needed to get some stock images of pine trees to create a composite Christmas image that I will be submitting next summer. The new snow provided what might be the last chance of the season to head out to capture pines laden with snow.
As I walked through the edge of the pines my boots kept punching through the crust of the snow. I tried to walk softly, and sometimes I could stay on top of the crust. But as often as not, just as I was starting my next stride the crust would give in and with a bone jarring crunch I would sink at least a foot further into the snow below the surface. It was a slow and tiring walk.
Looking ahead I could see a brown form at the base of one of the pines. I immediately know what it was and couldn't help but feel sad. For the last five months there had been a young deer that had been bedding in the pines. Last night the young buck had bedded down for the last time. I could see his tracks in the snow where he had come in, there was no sign of struggle, he had simply laid down to sleep and never gotten up.
He had gotten to the point where getting through winter had required more energy that he had stored in his fat reserves. Just a few days ago there were open spots on the ground, with the promise of spring and new food to eat. Today those spots are all covered with snow. In a week or so they will be open again and spring will take the landscape over from winter once more. The young buck had been so very close to making it.