Under the bird feeder in the soft dusting of snow is the imprint of a bunny butt. Proof that the book I'm reading on dinosaurs is correct about mammals. They are warm blooded and need to eat constantly, so that at 5:45AM Ms. Bunnybutt was scarfing down seeds. Near the back door in the dusting of snow on the deck is another imprint, a strange oval with a waffle pattern: my daughter's sneaker as she stood unlocking the door sometime around 3AM. In front of the garage are small dinosaur prints running all over the path, down side trails into the debris strewn areas under the maples. Chickens looking for sleepy bugs and just the right sized stone. Prof. Bakker says the chickens are like the velociraptors in the movie...smart, fast, and warm blooded.
Out in the snow near the side door to the studio are foot shaped mounds where my travels took me. Each step compressed the snow and made it harder, made it last longer. The soft snow to the side melted back in the sun and left these mesas showing where I have been. Like that comic in the Sunday paper you can see my trails in the snow, sometimes accompanied by smaller trails made by a cat. The cats never walk with me, but sometimes they follow my trails, maybe looking to see if I am tracking rabbits.
There's a big mushroom made of snow out by the pile of wood chips made by when my friend dumped out my wheelbarrow of the load of snow and ice. It compressed the snow beneath it and, being harder yet, remained as the surrounding snow melted back. My back yard is a miniature badlands in white, filled with gullies, mesas and other desert shapes. In another month or less all this will be gone, sucked back into the earth to wash down the throat of the Goddess, refreshing her, wakening her and starting the growth of the plants in our yard.
We get these giant thistles in the yard from the goldfinches planting a crop for the summer. They get eight feet tall sometimes, with many flowers that dry and burst into soft fuzzy clouds of seed. We also get clusters of sunflowers and pokeweed that the chickadees seem to enjoy. Late summer means I chop these big ugly plants down so I can walk near the edges and not get tangled up or stuck on the thorns. Then by spring only the toughest fossils are left under the retreating snow. Mostly silica, they turn back into sand when they go, like the snowprints of lost forgotten feet and butts turn back into water and combine with the sand to make new thistles. The circle of life is not a circle but a figure eight on it's side. Seen from above maybe it's a circle, but from where I stand in the snow it's a figure eight.
So it is that I come to believe that we each leave something behind, that we each change the path we walk on, even as the path changes us. Then, when we have passed, our passage dissolves it's evidence and becomes the building blocks of new life. Each step we take makes the earth harder and it pushes against the pressure of our tread. It lifts us up to the stars but we never quite make it and we fall back down to earth, to dissolve and become giant thistles and giant sunflowers and bunnies and cats. Spread out over life we become life in general and then we move on. Spun by the planet, like a giant drier, we are spun out into space, leaving a dust trail as we spin around the sun, our Father. Eventually my tracks, my bunnies, my thistles, all fly back into the sun to be stripped down to vibrations of ether, like sound never heard by mortal ears.
They say a galaxy being ripped apart by a black hole leaves vibration in the cosmic background which we can hear with radio telescopes, translating the sound into hisses and rips and pops. The process takes a relative forever. My sandy remains fly into the sun with a hissing sound, like a snake gliding thru the grass on it's way to chat with Eve, to tell her the fruit is good and death is not forever. The snake is a symbol of regeneration, not, as a sick Freud child says, a cock of lust. The snake is love and life but not lust. The sun sucks it all in and like a child with butterflies, tears away at the form, leaving soft beauty and the hiss of amazement, the sucking in of a breath, the glide of a snake.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.