Stories in the snow…one mouse leaving and returning or two mice meeting under the cover of night? While I ruminate about the possibilities, the morning calm is shattered by the CRAAACK of a dead tree tearing loose from the soil. Today’s wind is plucking at these beetle-killed trees, sending their gray spires toppling earthward. All winter I have relied upon these brief outings during Maggie’s ski lesson for tiny glimpses into the unseen activity of the non-human world. Today I am gifted with signs both visual and aural.
This semester I am teaching both a first and fourth year class on evolution. While the beetle-ravaged forest of Stake Lake is not my favorite forest, each trip around its trails reminds me that the academic theories I discuss in class have their roots/their tendrils embedded in the day to day events of living beings. When I come out amidst the living and the dying, I find myself giving thanks to both the small beauty of a lodgepole pine stump cast into shadow by the winter sun and to the playground of ideas which has sprung from the millenia of naturalists wondering about patterns–big and small.