Survival of the Beasts

The other day our cat alerted us to a pair of male possums violently attacking each other in our back yard, in the snow. One, clearly the victor, set up next to the BBQ grill right next to the house, while the other scampered away through a gap in the fence to the neighbor's yard.

The next morning I followed their tracks around the snow. There was a path under our deck. Another led around from the BBQ grill behind the shed and all around the corner, then under the fence into another neighbor's yard. There was a complicated circuit of tracks all around the very back end of the yard by the fences where the possums first were spotted fighting. Also clear markings of urine were found in the snow drifts below the bushes, with little possum paw tracks surrounding them. I regret not videoing the evidence of their footprints, which has long since melted away.

The tracks looked exactly like this:

This video is a more extreme version of what happened, but lacking the grandeur of the snow

Winter in New England!

Recently I've also played pond hockey and took a snowboarding trip at Stowe, Vermont. Pond hockey required several man-hours of snow shoveling to clear the ice for a smooth surface to shuttle the puck around. By the time we started playing I was exhausted. I fell 3 or 4 times in a brief match against younger guys in the early 20s or high school age, then slammed my back on the ice which still hurts 9 days later. The beauty of skating on a frozen pond in the middle of winter is almost unparalleled. The brackish saltwater ice is the least homogenous solid entity in nature with varying layers, veins, cracks, and prismatic light altering effects. Then skating over the thin layer of snow on top of the ice feels like sliding across a cloud. The only comparable experience would perhaps be skiing on perfect powder snow with the absence of crowds of people, ski lifts, and other desiderata of civilization.

a good example

On the snowboarding trip we just cruised and avoided ice. Temperature was -4°F at the summit. Days like this make you enjoy your meal at the end of the day.

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