These will be the last tracks I photograph this season. I discovered them last Wednesday and followed them through the woods. They led me (their makers never stopping to inspect trees or nibble new growth) to this slough white in undisturbed snow. I stood silent and long, wanting to store up inside me the profound beauty of it all – the splendor of the sunlight on snow, the intelligent tracks purposefully heading southward, the absence of man. Out of respect I left the slough untouched and promised myself to return with my camera. I did, only to find snow machines had since barreled their way through. What do we know of beauty? We trample on it. Or admiration? We have none, would use da Vinci’s The Last Supper for a table cloth.
I was disappointed for a bit; then I photographed the scene as it was. I’m glad I did and have come to like it for showing the opposing work of nature and man. As always they travel separate paths, moving at cross purposes to each other. Nature will win the battle for the slough. After all, the tracks are written on her canvas. She will erase this one and next fall lay down another. The animals will return again to write their ways on white. Man will follow to add his confusion. Then nature will erase her canvas once more. On and on until we no longer return. In her own time and way nature goes about correcting the insults of men.
Nature does the work of its Creator, one who’s thoughts are better than our thoughts, and whose ways are better than our ways.