Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 6, 2009 - Snow Track Paranoia

Well I don't think we're going to get the 150 inches of snow that was predicted in the Farmer's Almanac. Thank God. In fact January has been very quiet but very very cold. I'm getting pretty tired of the single digit temps. But this weekend it's supposed to be 40 degrees! And maybe thunderstorms on Monday. I would love to see some of this snow and ice go away, please.

I was thinking about snow tracks recently. When there's no snow you don't have any evidence that someone was tracking through your yard, or perhaps, came for a late night visit to your door. But that all changes when there's snow. And sometimes it can be a bit of a mystery. 

One year we were having trouble in my neighborhood with someone getting into our unlocked cars, rummaging around and stealing valubles. I got used to not locking my car because there just wasn't any crime in our neighborhood to worry about. One morning I noticed things were definitely scattered and loose change was missing in my car. Kind of a shock. I gave a police report and starting locking my car. I had forgotten about the incident when one morning we had a new light snow on the ground and I noticed footprints coming to my car door then leaving up the driveway. Someone was checking my car door. A little more investigation showed that this person was going down the street and checking everyone's car as the went along. Luckily I had locked my car.

This winter in early December I was going about my business late one evening when I happened to look out my back door. The door is glass and I have a clear view of the small porch at the top of the outdoor staircase you must climb to get to the door. There was a pair of footsteps of someone who had obviously come to the back door. I found this a little creepy because 1) I rarely have visitors come to the back door. In fact my neighbor is the only one I could think of who might come to that door; 2) It was late, about 10:30 when I noticed and since the snow had started late in the evening the visitor must have come fairly recently as the tracks were very clear. Having a visitor that late at the back door was almost unheard of. Hence a bit of a shiver went down my spine. And I never found out who had visited, friend or foe.

One day I was sitting on my couch in the living room. I have a great view out my front windows to the sidewalk which is only 10 feet or so in front of my house. I live near a high school and it quite common for me to see young students coming and going to school. One afternoon a young man stopped in front of my house and was looking intently down my driveway. You could see his mind churning but I had no clue what he was thinking or looking at. I soon found out thanks to a recent new snow. A track of footprints went diagonally across my back yard, from the rear of my driveway, across my backyard and through my neighbors yard. The young fellow was looking for a short cut through the block. The silly thing is, he really isn't saving more than seconds as I'm pretty close to the end of the block and taking the sidewalk isn't going to add much time to the journey. But leave it to the young to cut a corner whenever they can. Do I sound like an old fogey? I have to admit I don't like people cutting through my yard.

But there is more. I also noticed tracks in my yard that had no real ryhme or reason. The tracks came in from a back corner of the yard, moved diagonally across, then made a spiraling curve turning back making a small loop. Then seemed to follow the same tracks back to where they came from. So what exactly were they doing? Did they just feel like making tracks in the pristine snow? Were they walking a dog? Animal tracks are pretty common, especially rabbits. I never thought of these tracks as ominous. It looked more like a kid who was having fun. I never have untouched snow in the front yard. It seems the kids in the neighborhood can't stand to see untouched snow and immediately trample the whole yard. SO it still makes you think, who was it and what were they doing.

Most of the tracks are mysteries that in any other season I would never have known about. So next time you have a new snow pay attention to the tracks. They might get you wondering. Bye for now. m

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