Animal tracks are mysteries – pieces of an intriguing puzzle just waiting to be solved.
If you know what you’re looking for, animal tracks can provide all sorts of wonderful clues to help recreate the story of what happened. The serious flaw in my animal track mysteries is that they have some missing parts. Lots of missing parts.
I look at animal tracks and I’m usually stumped by the obvious question. What sort of animal made that track? I stumbled upon the tracks in the photo to the right a couple of weeks ago and all I could think of was that some creature was having way too much fun sliding around.
Since I often start off not knowing which animal went before me, it gets a lot more complicated trying to figure out what they were doing. It reminds me of a table full of tiny blue puzzle pieces with no master picture to help me put it all together!
I can live with mystery. In fact you could say that animal tracks could be a metaphor for life. We don’t always know where our tracks will lead. It’s a tension we live with that adds to the mystery.
Besides, I can always image wild creatures slinking around in the dark, either hunting for prey or trying to avoid the hunters. The drama would never end.
Just about the time I started to set aside the puzzle metaphor and be happy to just go with my imagination, I came across these tracks.
Now it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that these are not random tracks. This creature clearly drew a picture of a bird in the snow. Just who exactly was the audience and what was the message? Was it appealing to the bird’s vanity? Was it trying to distract a predator? Was I the intended audience? Perhaps there were secret messages in the other tracks that I had missed?
While pondering all these confusing thots, I stumbled upon an even more elabourate set of tracks.
At least there was no mystery here. My wife had been amusing herself making snow angels while I was off taking photos of animal tracks.