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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Footprints in the Snow

Footprints in the Snow

The Beautiful Quirke Lake
After several dull days, it was great to see the clear blue sky with the sun shining gloriously this morning. The snowfall of the last few days still had some of the branches covered in sparkling white and so we headed to one of our favourite walks at the end of Panel Mine Road, just north of Elliot Lake. We decided to walk to the beach where, last winter, we promised ourselves that we would swim in Quirke Lake. Alas, our promises were made null and void when the access road was closed for most of the summer for bridge repairs! 

This morning, the cool air welcomed us as we set off along the trail that follows the edge of the lake. Although we have been on this trail several times, we are still in awe of the spectacular scenery as it unfolds before us. 

Along the trail, we noticed two sets of footprints which, we think, may have been made by foxes. We know that there are two in that particular area as we spent some time with them in the Fall of 2013. It was interesting to follow the prints as they revealed the story of what had happened earlier. Sometimes, the two sets of prints were overlaid on top of each other suggesting that one fox had followed the other. 

Trail left by foxes?

At other times, they separated for a short distance, sometimes going off into the bush and back again. 

Deer tracks?
There were also some larger prints that were left by a deer that had been foraging for food earlier in the day (or at least since the last fall of snow). 

It got me thinking of a text book that I used to teach comprehension to my students. Brought over from the U.K., the page being referred to showed the aftermath of a cyclist's collision with a car after a dog had run across the road in pursuit of a cat. The whole story had to be reconstructed by the tell-tale marks left in the snow. It was always a favourite lesson. 

It also reminded me that we leave footprints in life... and in the lives of others. The things we do and say, no matter how small or large, leave an imprint that touches others for better or worse. It behooves us of the need to tread carefully. 

Maybe at this time of year, in our interactions with those around us, we can leave each person feeling better for having been in our presence; feeling uplifted because of something we have said or done. The gift of ourselves and our time is worth far more than anything wrapped and placed under the tree.  
The footprints left in the snow will gradually disappear. The footprints we leave in the lives of others will stay with them for a very long time - maybe for the rest of their lives. 

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