2017-12-23 / Outdoors

Wolf Tracks

Outdoor Columnist
Dave Wolf

After we finished all of our usual pre- Christmas rituals, I decided to take my camera for a walk up on the hillside that guards her deer so well. That hill keeps beckoning me.

Once a great fan of winter, I no longer relish this time of year. I guess as you grow older, your bones get creaky and sore. The wind and cold find a way to get inside all those layers of clothing.

In the early days, I only wore a down jacket, jeans, warm boots, and old white thermal underwear. The other day, I checked online to be sure they still made them. They do, at bargain basement prices.

Today, I stay much warmer with waterproof outer wear and undergarment that wick away moisture.

In a sense, I take my dad with me as I think back on our squirrel hunts. He sure loved to go after bushy-tails, as did my grandfather.

I sit and reflect on seasons past, on Christmases over the years, and on loved ones who are no longer with us. Those memories are best found in a remote hillside forest.


This guy wandered into the right place at the right time as the writer retreated to a hillside near his home to sort out his thoughts and emotions in the holiday season. 
Dave Wolf photo This guy wandered into the right place at the right time as the writer retreated to a hillside near his home to sort out his thoughts and emotions in the holiday season. Dave Wolf photo The dawn of a new year prompts a review of the past 12 months. In a tranquil, natural setting, it’s easier to choose what to keep near and dear to me -- and what to toss away. My mind provides a slide show, of sorts, made up of images captured by camera or simply by my memories.

Suddenly, the sound of rustling leaves draws my attention. It could be a squirrel, or perhaps a deer. I quietly watch and listen as a dried leaf flutters in the wind.

I turn my head slowly, and out of the corner of my eye I detect a shape that is out of place. Every muscle in my body freezes as the image comes into focus.

The white antlers give it away – a beautiful buck foraging on the forest floor. I manage to snap a decent photograph just before he raises his head and retreats.

My experience is complete. It is the perfect holiday gift.

A new year is upon us. It’s a time to cherish our memories, share our heartfelt joy for the present, and express our hope for the future. Let heaven and nature sing.

(Dave Wolf can be reached by email at wolfang418@msn.com.)

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