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Slip 'n Slide

In the midst of all the grief and gloom, some signs in the snow.

Wasn’t the snow beautiful this morning?  My son-in-law is a hunter and fisherman and the snow is his thing.  Fishing in the dead of winter or tracking endless hours through the white stuff is something that at the drop of a hat or the ring of the phone the next thing you’ll hear is the slam of the door and he and friends are off through the trackless wasteland.

Given who he is, is why he saw what he did this morning down on the dock. 

There were otter tracks, prints in the snow, way out at the very end of the pier.  He knows an otter, or for that matter a cougar, bear, dear, elk, moose, etc. track when he sees one. 

But these were different.

The tracks of an otter were there alright but then the track would end and there would be a long furrow in the snow as if something had been dragged.  Since we’re raising trout in a big net pen right where all this was happening in the snow the thought was the otter had been in the pen and was dragging away his catch. 

But upon inspection the net was fine.  No holes.

Pondering what could have created the drag marks he noticed that there were no tracks alongside the skids.  Rather the claws disappeared and next there’d be this groove through the fluffy stuff at the end of which the tracks circled back to where they’d begun - and where the tracks became more jumbled - then the long scooped-out-of-the-snow hollow with no tracks at all.

That’s when he smiled and retraced his own steps back to my warm office and said “Come see.” 

An otter had been playing slip-‘n-slide in the snow.

Evidently, and by the size of the prints he was a big one, the otter would take a run, flip over onto his backside and plow a furry-furrow-thru-the-fluffy to the end of the run and repeat.

Maybe laughing all the way.  Certainly squealing or whatever otters do when they’re having fun.

There’s a lot of grief and gloom that has descended upon our nation these recent days.  And in the midst of it all the snow has fallen covering the landscape with a beauty to behold outside our window, mug of hot cocoa in hand, fire cheerfully crackling on the open hearth nearby. 

Or, if you’re an otter, slipping and sliding through the snow and if you happen to fall in the water at the end of the run, oh well.

Along the same line, here’s a sweet story this snow covered morning of what everyone needs in these sadly eventful days before Christmas – and for that matter, every day of the year.  As you’ll read in the story of the link provided, there’s one of two roles we can play – either hugger, or huggee.  Either one will get you, and those around you, through.

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