Imprinted

Tracks in the freshly fallen snow on my yard were made with a variety of little feet. Some were from the little ones lining up at the school bus stop. Other tracks were recognizable as rabbit, squirrel,bird, dog and cat tracks.

At the farm, later in the day a slow moving possum made his own muddled way through the snow drift under the bird feeder. As the day wore on and I made an effort to go into town to do a little Christmas shopping I found the slush from the street and sidewalks treacherous to track through. Town was somewhat busier than usual but that didn’t mean the two main streets and sidewalks had been cleared properly.

Footprints from the ice melt salt used to make my sidewalk entrance safer caked onto the indoor entryway floor before footwear could be removed.

This all brought to mind the game my mom used to play with me on the farm. She called the game fox and goose because just the two of us played it together. It was an adaptation of an old country school game of tag correctly called Fox and Geese. We made tracks and chased each other trying to get to a special safety spot designated as the henhouse. Often I would just plunk myself in a drift and make snow angels or watch my mom run as fast as she could on her own round and round the zigzagged track. The game would have been normally played with a large group of kids all spaced out around a big circle trying to get to the centre henhouse for safety without being tagged by the fox. Mom didn’t worry about those details.

 Our version didn’t really make a great deal of sense to my three year old self but to this day,( well) over half a century later, I remember the glorious deep glittering snow drifted at the side of the faded red chicken house and my strong and pretty mom laughing and stomping a big path of tracks through the field like a child herself. Ordinarily, she didn’t have time to play. Her long day was filled with farm work , worry and taking care of the family. To see her at play, eyes shining, face rosy, running like the high school athlete she was in her glory days was significant to a little three year old, rare and memorable, like tracks in the snow.

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