|A Mess of Tracks|
|Pond Iced Over|
|Train Incident in Elmira|
|Selkirks to the North|
|Following Tracks Home|
|The Stopped Train|
Dedicated to Uncle Roger Warren who enriched my life. He has gone home to the Lord today; a good and faithful servant. We grieve. We remember. We walk in the tracks he left behind.
A mess of tracks scatters in the snow around my house in Elmira. Some form a trail of sorts--boot-tracks to the garage, the pasture, the car. Others are more random like the finger painting of a kindergartener--the sweeping steps of dogs trotting this way and that in snow. One set of dog tracks peels away from the scatter-art to follow a set of cat tracks that meander around the west side of the house. The cat escapes into the forested pasture north and the dog turns back at the fence.
All of our activities can be read in the tracks we leave behind.
Snow crunches beneath my boots as I make my own tracks to seek solace in the quiet of Elmira Pond. Like my husband just said to me, "Sometimes we need to just get out and look at something else." That something else is the blank canvas of fresh snow, now frozen beneath cold blue skies. Elmira Pond is etched in shoreline snow and glazed in smooth ice.
Curvacious tracks emerge from mounds of broken and bent grass. The tracks here speak of life beneath what looks battered by wind and snow. Mice are burrowing from clump to clump, probably feeding on remnants of summer seeds, hidden from the eagles and hawks that hunt from above.
Along the south fence that cuts across two small intermittent streams that water Elmira Pond, a snowshoe rabbit has punched a trail in the crust of snow. At one point the trail crosses the fence to the Bluebird Ranch next door. He must be slender enough to fit through the wire squares.
No deer. No moose. Just a pristine pond-scape of frosted white. The tracks are well defined out here, but sparse. It is a holy place to pray my good-byes to Uncle Roger who went to his eternal rest this morning. I can feel the tracks he's left across my heart. Early on, he became an encourager of my dream to write. He never ceased for as long as he had breath. His tracks are laid out for me to follow--learn, teach, encourage, see, travel, love. Each step amounts to an incredible lifetime journey.
From across the pond, I can see the train on the tracks that follow Highway 95. Normally I like the trains, but the presence of this one has been heavy, like the burden of snow upon tender grass. It's been parked in front of our house for a week now. Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, a 19-year old Sandpoint girl turned onto West Elmira Road where the tracks cross.
It doesn't matter what hits you in the end--pancreatic cancer or a southbound train. All tracks eventually cease. We didn't even know about the fatal accident until stopping in at Elmira Store yesterday to get coffee creamer. "What's up with that parked train," we asked, thinking an engine was broke down. After that, it felt like a death shroud. Odd, but now, after getting the news of Uncle Roger, it has left. The tracks are bare.
Out of wanting to know who this girl was, who died so near my doorstep, I look her up online. Her family has a Facebook page to her memory. She left many tracks across this world--friends, family, school, a missions trip. It made me think that it matters not our age at death, but in how well we used our hearts along the journey. What tracks did each leave behind--barely a woman of few decades and a man closing out his eighth.
Crunching back across my original trail in the snow, I realize that we need to make these solo tracks every now and again before rejoining the heavily trodden trails of our everyday lives. Make each step count.