Like a detective trying to discover clues in an ancient crime scene, I try to puzzle out what made these faint tracks on the meadow snow. They wander across the snowy field like furrows set by an inattentive farmer. Crossing them are recognizable snow machine tracks left by someone who enjoyed banking his machine on steep creek banks, shooting over the shoulder of the big beaver house, and weaving through the bordering forest. Some, maybe the rabbits and deer that watched the show, would find the snow machine driver guilty of crimes. I don’t judge, just hope that the relatively short reach of the meadow will discourage a return.
I ski in the snow machine tracks while Aki sniffs about, pees here and there, but ignores the mystery tracks. This tells me that they were machine made. The mystery is solved mid-meadow, where a trail of two parallel wide grooves confirms that the tracks were made by four wheel all terrain vehicles. Stopping, I listen for silence—blood beating a tattoo in my ears, squawks of disturbed birds, then nothing. No wolf howling, rabbit crying, rifle firing, snowmachine whining. I can almost hear the slight breeze ruffling Aki’s ears.