Can we tell? Does this scene take place in winter? Or in mud season?
The pulp trucks make havoc of roads at this time of year. You see signs posted: “heavy loads limited.” And warnings: “frost heaves.” “Bumps.”
Up there on the hill a muddy road turned off my right shoulder, its own shoulders soft and frosted with snow. I followed till I came to the gravelly drive, caked with thin whiteness. We followed, the dog and I.
There I became aware of the track of the deer, dainty. The heart-shape in white, edged in soft melt. Carefully I placed my feet over them and ground out each print. Erased each shapely heart.
The black dog followed and wove a dog track back and forth over our tracks, the deer’s and mine. At times he stopped to sniff them. The dog is clean and brushed, clipped. He has had a bath and been de-tagged. All his matted clumps are gone. Brambles no longer trail from his behind. But he is going blind.
We tromped down toward the rounded slope of the ridge, coming into the open from the trees. So the view opened wide on the mountains of the next town, spreading in patches of muted dark green, gray and brown; sifted with faint touches of white. Massive mountains seemed immortal, set forever beneath the restless moving sky. I stood staring while the wind roamed on high, whistling. Then I looked down, turned around, searching for more tracks to squash.
It’s said there are only two seasons here, as in parts of Canada. But it’s more like three. Winter, mud season, and The July. Spring, if it comes, rushes past, sometimes a flying cold. If it comes? But there was that time, found in documents and books in Maine’s local histories, when there was even no July. 1816, I think it was. “The year with no summer.”
(I took the picture holding the camera out the study window yesterday.)